Wind Fuels Land Rush in Wyoming

Ranchers band together to negotiate better deals
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2008 11:43 AM CST
Ron Hawkins, ranch manager for Wild Horses Wyoming, unloads hay near Laramie, Wyo. Wind farm developers are eager to buy up ranch land.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Wyoming is in the midst of a land grab, but this time it's wind farm developers, not oilmen, who are eager to make a deal, the New York Times reports. To deal with the onslaught of offers from out-of-state developers, ranchers are abandoning a culture of self-reliance and pooling their land in wind energy associations to increase their bargaining power.

The developers hope Wyoming wind power can supply bigger markets such as California. "This is the best wind in North America," a trade group rep said. At first, many ranchers were skeptical and unsure how to judge an offer. That's why the eight wind associations have emerged to deal with developers. "I think that we’ve positioned ourselves well to be prudent and intelligent negotiators," a state senator said.