Get the Facts

Learn more about the Rail Tie Wind Project here! Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions about wind energy and the Rail Tie Wind Project.

ConnectGen develops, builds and operates utility-scale renewable energy and energy storage projects across the United States.

With a portfolio of over 20,000 MW of wind, solar, and storage projects under development across the United States, ConnectGen’s experienced team has a track record of successfully identifying, developing, and building renewable energy projects. Our project successes are built on a foundation of rigorous screening and site selection, collaborative engagement with landowners and host communities, and disciplined execution through development, construction and operations.

ConnectGen aims to begin construction of the Rail Tie Wind Project by spring of 2025. The Project consists of two stages, each approximately 252 megawatts and divided by Highway 287. It’s anticipated that both stages of the project would be operational by the end of 2026.

The Rail Tie Wind Project has secured all major permits needed, and we are now focused on final engineering and pre-construction activities, as well as finalizing a customer for the power the Project will produce.  

The Project has undergone review at the federal, state, and county levels. At the federal level, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) published its Record of Decision (ROD) in July 2022. The ROD marks the completion of WAPA’s multi-year environmental and technical review, including a detailed analysis of the physical, biological, and socioeconomic effects of the project. The ROD can be found on WAPA’s website at:  

The Project has also undergone county and state permitting review processes. ConnectGen received a Wind Energy Conversion Systems permit from the Albany County Commission on July 13, 2021 and a Section 109 permit from the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council on July 21, 2021.

ConnectGen aims to begin construction of the Rail Tie Wind Project in spring 2025. The Project consists of two stages, each approximately 252 megawatts and divided by Highway 287. It’s anticipated that both stages of the project will be operational by the end of 2026.

The Project is located in Albany County, WY near Tie Siding. Click here to download a map of the Project Area.

ConnectGen identified the Rail Tie Wind Project location through a screening exercise that started with the entire U.S. mountain west region, and iteratively narrowed down on areas that were suitable for wind development. Throughout 2019, ConnectGen performed environmental diligence studies and met with federal, state and local agencies to confirm that the selected site was appropriate for developing a utility-scale wind project.

The project location has one of the best wind resources in the western United States and avoids highly sensitive environmental areas in Wyoming. Importantly, the project will use the Western Area Power Administration’s existing high voltage transmission line that crosses through the project area, thereby avoiding the impacts of constructing significant new transmission infrastructure.

The Rail Tie Wind Project will be a total capital investment of more than $500 million in Albany County. The project will benefit the County by generating $130 million in new tax revenues, creating jobs, and increasing demand for local businesses.

During construction, the Rail Tie Wind Project will contribute approximately $14.6 million in sales and use taxes to Albany County. For comparison, this is equal to 80% of all sales and uses taxes distributed to Albany County in 2018. During operations, the project will provide a steady stream of tax revenues to the County, averaging $3.3 million per year over the 35-year project life. This amount includes sales and use taxes, wind excise taxes, and property taxes.

Additionally, approximately 20% of the project area is sited on state land. The project will pay annual wind lease payments to the Office of State Lands and Investments, which funds Wyoming’s public schools and institutions.

During construction, the Rail Tie Wind Project will support hundreds of construction jobs. These construction workers will drive local economic development through increased demand for supply chain businesses, hospitality services, and other local businesses. The project will generate at least 20 permanent operations jobs, which provide well-paying opportunities for young people to remain living and working in Wyoming.

The Rail Tie Wind Project will minimize the potential effects on local roads by entering into a road maintenance agreement with Albany County outlining the process of improving and repairing roads that will be used during construction and operations. Per the Albany County regulations (see Chapter 5 Section 12(G)(8)),1 the Rail Tie Wind Project will:

  • Identify all public roads that will be used during construction and operation of the project;
  • Obtain access permits and utility crossing permits from Albany County;
  • Perform a traffic study of any public roads leading to and away from the project;
  • Submit a mitigation plan and/or long-term road maintenance agreement with Albany County.

The road maintenance agreement will include:

  • A pre-construction survey to determine the existing road conditions;
  • Financial assurance, secured prior to the issuance of a certificate, in an amount necessary to repair any damage to public roads caused by construction or operations; and
  • The requirement that ConnectGen return all public roads and other infrastructure to their original or better condition at the end of the project’s life.

As a long-term community partner, the Rail Tie Wind Project will leave the roads in as same or better condition as prior to construction.

The Rail Tie Wind Project will benefit neighboring landowners by providing vital tax dollars that are necessary for Albany County to provide infrastructure, road maintenance, fire protection, law enforcement, and other services to its rural residents. The tax dollars paid by rural residential developments do not currently cover the County’s cost of providing these services to them, sometimes resulting in limited protections.

From the Albany County Comprehensive Plan: “In recent years, the county has also begun to experience the conversion of agricultural lands to rural residential uses. The County has experienced difficulty providing services to new developments that are extremely remote… Although residential land is taxed at a higher rate than agricultural lands, the County’s current tax structure and permitting system do not require remote developments to pay the full additional cost of providing services to them.” 2

From the Albany County Code of the West: “All county residents pay taxes to the county government in exchange for provision of services. However, the revenue collected from rural residential developments does not cover the cost of services provided to rural residents. In general, city residents and rural agricultural producers subsidize the lifestyle of rural residents by making up the shortfall between the cost of services and revenues received from rural dwellers.” 3

The Rail Tie Wind Project is a separate project from the Hermosa wind project, which was under active development by Shell Wind Energy until 2013 when Shell exited the wind development business. Although the Rail Tie Wind Project does include several of the same landowners that were included in the Hermosa project, the Rail Tie Wind Project will undergo its own federal, state and local environmental review processes and ConnectGen is performing surveys and studies to support these reviews.

ConnectGen is responsible for the removal of the project at the end of the project’s life. Prior to starting construction, ConnectGen is required to put financial security in place to ensure that the landowners and community will bear no responsibility for removal or restoration.

Albany County and the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council require that ConnectGen provide a project decommissioning and reclamation plan prior to the start of construction. The decommissioning and reclamation plan will detail how ConnectGen will safely and responsibly remove the project infrastructure and restore the project area as close as possible to its prior condition. Additionally, prior to starting construction ConnectGen will be required to provide financial assurances sufficient for complete decommissioning and reclamation of the project at the end of its useful life. The amount of financial assurance will be determined by a third-party engineer and will be re-estimated and adjusted every five years. This financial assurance will remain in place even if ownership of the Project changes. Furthermore, the project will implement various best management practices and environmental protection measures to ensure avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of potential impacts during all phases of the project, including decommissioning.

At this stage of development, ConnectGen has not yet secured a customer for the project’s wind generation. ConnectGen must secure a customer for the project before it can begin construction.

When the wind blows past a wind turbine, its blades capture the wind’s energy and rotate, turning the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy. Inside the wind turbine, this rotation turns an internal shaft connected to a gearbox, which then spins a generator that produces electricity. The wind turbine will rotate to face the strongest wind and will angle its blades to best capture the wind energy.4

ConnectGen considered a number of potential turbine models for the Rail Tie Wind Project. At the smaller end, ConnectGen considered a 3 megawatt (MW) turbine with a total height of 500 ft. At the upper end, ConnectGen considered a 6 MW turbine with a total height of 675 ft.

ConnectGen currently plans to use the Vestas V150-4.2 turbine for the Project. This 4.2 MW turbine has a total height of 590.5 ft (measured from the ground to the tip of the vertical blade).

The wind industry is trending towards larger, more efficient turbines, which is a positive trend because it means that wind projects require fewer turbines and less ground disturbance to produce more energy.

The wind turbines that will be used for the Rail Tie Wind Project are designed for on land use. ConnectGen initially considered turbine models between approximately 500 and 675 ft tall (measured from the base of the tower to the tip of the blade) and is currently planning to use turbines that are 590.5 ft tall. Technological advances over several decades have resulted in taller towers, longer blades and improved turbine efficiencies. While the underlying technology that has been used for over 30 years remains the same, these taller turbines and longer blades now allow for an exponential increase in output with fewer turbines, which decreases the footprint of wind projects.

Increased wind turbine height is an industry-wide trend, and ConnectGen is not alone in considering taller turbine technology. In 2018 and 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)* reviewed and approved applications for 2,997 land-based wind turbines with a maximum tip height of 650 feet or greater spread across 28 states. An additional 3,488 planned wind turbine locations with a tip height of 650 feet or greater are under FAA review as of April 2020. The Big Level Wind Farm, which is using wind turbines with a tip height of 654.5 feet, went into operation in December 2019. By the time the Rail Tie Wind Project begins construction, this taller turbine technology will be even more commonplace.

*The FAA is the sole government agency that can determine no hazard for purpose of aircraft safety, as such each proposed wind turbine location for any wind project in the United States must receive FAA approval in order to be constructed.

The number of turbines depends on the turbine model used; larger turbines with greater generating capacities results in fewer turbines needed for the project overall. ConnectGen is currently planning to use a 4.2 MW turbine, which means the 504 MW Project would include 120 turbines.

Wind turbines typically operate at wind speeds between 3 meters per second (7 miles per hour) and 27 meters per second (60 miles per hour). ConnectGen has analyzed several years of wind data collected in the Project Area to confirm that the wind resource is excellent for wind project operations.

Yes. Wind energy is a low-cost resource that is competitive with conventional energy sources. The cost of wind energy has declined by 69% over the last decade, 5 and with improved technology and U.S.-based manufacturing, wind energy is cost competitive with other energy sources and the cheapest source of new electricity in many parts of the country. 6

The primary federal incentive for wind energy development is the Production Tax Credit (PTC), legislation with bipartisan support.7 Tax policy is an important driver that prompts private investment, benefits the U.S. economy, and creates new jobs. Just as tax treatment for other energy sources has enabled growth and development, the PTC helped wind developers access the capital needed to build new wind projects.

For nearly 100 years, the federal government has supported energy innovation through various forms of tax incentives and other financial tools. While wind power does currently benefit from the PTC, it represents only a small fraction of the money U.S. taxpayers are spending each year to subsidize fossil fuels.

Over the last century, American taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion to subsidize the energy industry.8 Yet, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other third party sources, only 2.8% of all federal energy incentives have gone to wind energy over the last 70 years.9 The share of these energy incentives breaksdown as follows: 65% of the incentives have gone to fossil fuels, 21% have gone to nuclear, 2.8% have gone to wind, and the remaining 12% have been split between all other forms of renewable energy, including biofuels. With over 80% of these incentives going to fossil fuel and nuclear energy, wind power receives a benefit of mere cents on the dollar comparatively.

Based on a study published in the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, a wind turbine produces the amount to energy required to produce and install the turbine within approximately six months.10 As wind turbine technology continues to improve with longer lifetimes and larger nameplate capacities, we expect the length of the energy payback period to decrease. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reviewed published research and concluded that wind energy’s life cycle greenhouse gas emissions are lower than most other types of electricity generation technology.11

While wind is variable as a power resource, that does not mean that wind projects are backed up with a coal or gas plant should the wind stop blowing. The variability of wind can be predictably forecast and used to complement other generation sources. No electricity source runs 100 percent of the time, including coal, gas, and nuclear plants. Grid operators have decades of experience managing changes in supply and demand, and sudden, unexpected outages at large conventional power plants are more costly and difficult to manage than the gradual, predictable changes in wind output.12  Because of the balancing efforts grid operators undertake, it’s simply untrue that fossil fuel reserves run around the clock for when the wind doesn’t blow.

Wind energy projects, like all forms of development, can result in interactions with the natural environment. Wildlife and natural resources were an important consideration in ConnectGen’s selection of the Rail Tie project site. Importantly, the Project Area avoids sensitive wildlife areas known to Wyoming, such as the sage grouse core areas and connectivity zones, wildlife conservation areas, designated migration corridors, and TNC conservation priority areas.

Even though it has comparatively few effects on wildlife, the wind energy industry is closely regulated by state and federal agencies to ensure any effects are minimized and mitigated. The Rail Tie Wind Project site was selected as part of a screening process to identify sites with necessary wind generation characteristics but limited risks to wildlife and protected lands. ConnectGen is engaged in extensive studies of the wildlife resources associated with the project area. The studies are being performed as part of the tiered study approach described in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, as well as applicable guidance provided by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.13 The data collected will be used to assess the potential impacts that the project may have on the natural environment and will help inform environmental protection measures that when implemented, will avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife. ConnectGen is committed to the responsible siting, construction, and operation of each of its wind projects.

Climate change remains the largest threat to wildlife. Wind power is one of the most effective, fastest, cheapest solutions to reduce carbon pollution and the climate change it contributes to. A typical wind project repays its carbon footprint in six months or less, providing decades of zero emission energy that displaces fossil fuel energy and combats climate change.14

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab noted that wind turbines cause less than 0.01 percent of all human-related bird deaths. According to the American Wind Energy Association, aside from habitat loss, the greatest cause of bird deaths are cats and tall buildings. As David O-Neil, Chief Conservation Officer at the Audubon Society stated in a Huffington Post article, “You can’t be against renewable energy, wind and solar, if you are for protecting birds.”

Millions of people around the world live and work near more than 340,00015 operating wind turbines without any health or safety effects.16

According to a 2018 study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory17, there are more than 1.3 million homes located within five miles of a utility-scale wind turbine. The study also found that 92 percent of survey respondents living within five miles of a wind turbine reported positive or neutral experiences and that 90 percent of survey respondents would prefer to live near a wind farm over any type of centralized power plant, whether coal, natural gas or nuclear.

Numerous peer-reviewed, third-party studies have shown that wind turbines do not have adverse, direct impacts on human health. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine titled, “Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature.” A panel of experts with professional experience and training in occupational and environmental medicine, acoustics, epidemiology, otolaryngology, psychology, and public health was commissioned to “assess the peer-reviewed literature regarding potential health effects among people living in the vicinity of wind turbines.” Upon review, they concluded, “No clear or consistent association is seen between noise from wind turbines and any reported disease or other indicator of harm to human health.” 18

Further, Health Canada, in partnership with Statistics Canada, conducted a major study of over one thousand homes and reached the same conclusion, stating, “No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported illnesses.” 19

Wind projects do not burn fossil fuel to generate electricity, and as a result, do not emit any air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, or particulate matter. In 2018, wind energy reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 200 million metric tons – equivalent to over 11 percent of annual U.S. electric sector emissions, or nearly 43 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions.20 It is estimated that by reducing harmful emissions that contribute to chronic illness and premature death, wind projects reduced public health costs by $9.4 billion in 2018 alone.21

Today’s wind turbines take advantage of over 30 years of design, engineering, manufacturing and operating experience to minimize sound from operations. Further, the Rail Tie Wind Project will be designed to comply with local and state laws to limit sound impacts.

Existing infrastructure, such as the Union Pacific railroad and Highway 287, and the sound of the wind itself contribute to existing noise levels in the Project Area. ConnectGen will design the Rail Tie Wind Project within Albany County’s regulations, which will minimize additional sound impacts on nearby residences.

Albany County’s wind regulations mandate that noise associated with large-scale wind project operation shall not exceed 55 dBA at any point along the common property lines between a non-participating property and a participating property. For comparison, a 55 dBA sound level is considered to be equivalent to a quiet suburban night. An Acoustical Assessment was performed for the Project as part of the County permit application to confirm that the Project will not exceed this noise limit. Because the Albany County noise limit is set at the property line, the noise levels at and inside neighboring residences will be even lower. And as a condition of the Albany County permit, the Rail Tie Wind Project must locate turbines at least one-mile from existing non-participating residences.

Years of research into the impact of wind turbines on property values have shown no evidence of negative long-term impact of wind installations to property values 22:

  • A 2022 peer-reviewed study found that beginning with the construction phase, wind energy projects led to economically meaningful increases in median home values, household income, and both county-level  income and GDP per capita.
  • A 2019 analysis of property value research by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that wind turbines do not negatively impact property values at any point during their installation, including post announcement, during construction, and post construction.
  • A 2019 study of attitudes towards wind turbine neighbors conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that 92 percent of people living within five miles of a wind turbine reported positive or neutral experiences.
  • A 2013 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found no significant impact on the property values of the 50,000 homes researchers analyzed near 67 different wind facilities

The wind industry is a driver of meaningful economic development, particularly in rural areas. Wind energy projects across the U.S. deliver an estimated $2 billion in state and local tax payments and land-lease payments each year. The industry employs nearly 126,000 Americans across all 50 states, including 24,000 wind manufacturing jobs at over 450 facilities.

Polls consistently find that a majority of Americans support wind energy, and in places where there are more wind turbines present, there is increased support.23 For example:

  • Ecotourism has been on the rise for decades, and wind projects have become tourist attractions.24
  • In 2017, The Goucher Poll asked 671 Marylanders if views of wind turbines would change their feelings about vacationing in Ocean City. Their findings: 75 percent of respondents said the sight of wind turbines would make no difference, while 12 percent answered that the turbines would make them more likely to visit.25
  • The Goucher Poll results echoed the findings of a study released by the Sage Policy Group in August 2017. Sage looked at whether or not views of the turbines would impact tourism or home values in Ocean City, and they concluded there were no statistically significant negative impacts. Sage also found that for young people in particular, the presence of turbines is a plus.26
  • In 2019, researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that, contrary to the concerns that offshore wind would affect tourism, tourism to Block Island increased the year after the Block Island Wind Project was constructed.27

As with any structure, wind turbines can accumulate ice under certain atmospheric conditions. This possibility and the risk of ice throw is taken into account during both project planning and operation. The turbines used for the Rail Tie Wind Project will be properly sited in accordance with Albany County regulations, which requires setback distances from roads and residences that adequately protect the public from the risk of ice throw.28

In addition, modern wind turbines are designed with ice detection systems to minimize the potential for ice throw. If ice accumulates on the blades, the turbine will simply shut off and will remain at a standstill until the ice melts.

Wind turbine fires are rare events; statistically, the potential for a single wind turbine to catch fire is approximately 1 in 1,700 to 2,000.29 Regardless, ConnectGen has committed to fire safety measures that will minimize the likelihood of a wind turbine fire and will have emergency response plans in place in the event that a fire occurs.

The wind turbines to be used for the Rail Tie Wind Project include fire prevention design features that will minimize fire risk. For example, each turbine is equipped with a Lightning Protection System designed to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, which prevents fire ignition if the turbine is struck by lightning. Furthermore, each turbine is equipped with smoke detectors inside the turbine that automatically shut down the turbine and alert the Project Operations team as soon as fire is detected.

In accordance with the Albany County Zoning Resolution, ConnectGen is developing an Emergency Response Plan in coordination with local emergency response agencies. The Plan outlines the response protocols for emergencies, such as fire, that could occur at the Project. In addition, Wildfire Mitigation Measures will be developed in coordination with the Laramie Fire Department, Tie Siding Volunteer Fire Department, and Vedauwoo Volunteer Fire Department and will be incorporated into the Emergency Management Plan.

For nearly a century, the federal government has supported energy innovation through various forms of tax incentives and other financial tools. For many industries including energy, tax policy is an important driver that prompts private investment, creates new jobs, and benefits the U.S. economy. For example, fossil fuels in their start-up got five times more in government incentives than renewable energy, and nuclear received ten times as much. 30

For wind energy, the primary federal incentive is the Production Tax Credit (PTC), passed in 1992 with bipartisan support and recently extended through 2024.31 Just as tax treatment for traditional energy sources has enabled growth and development, the PTC has helped wind developers access the private capital needed to boost America’s renewable energy generation and provide host communities billions in local and state taxes.


2 Albany County Wyoming: “Albany County Comprehensive Plan, section3.1”:

3 Albany County, Wyoming: “Code of the West”:

4 AWEA: “Basics of Wind Energy:”






10 Science Daily: “Wind turbine payback: Environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines”:

11 NREL: “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Generation: Update”:

12 Forbes: “What Does 100% Renewable Energy Really Mean?”

13 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines”:

14 Science Daily: “Wind turbine payback: Environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines”:

15 Global Wind Energy Council: “Wind in Numbers”:

16 AWEA: “Living Near Wind Turbines:”

17 Berkley Lab: “National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors”:

18 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: “Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature”:

19 Government of Canada: “What is the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study?”:

20 AWEA: “Environmental Benefits”:

21 AWEA: “Environmental Benefits”


23 Clean Technica: “Americans Overwhelmingly Support Wind Power”:

24 NC Coastal Wind: “Wind farms are tourist attractions”:

25 Goucher Poll:

26 USA Today: “Ocean City offshore wind project won’t deter tourists, developer says”:

27 The University of Rhode Island: “URI researchers: Offshore wind farm increased tourism on Block Island”:

28 (see Section 5-15 (G)(7))

29 Firetrace International. 2019. The Wind Turbine Fire Problem, By the Numbers. Available at,1%20in%202%2C000%20each%20year.



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