Legal Mess Ties Up $500 Million Wyoming Wind Farm Project

An influential seven-member industrial siting group in Wyoming plans an early July meeting to sort out a legal mess that could determine the future of the $500 million Rail Tie wind farm development in Albany County.

Pat Maio

June 24, 20244 min read

Rail Tie Wind Project 4 19 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

An influential seven-member industrial siting group in Wyoming plans an early July meeting to sort out a legal mess that could determine the future of the $500 million Rail Tie wind farm development in Albany County.

The industrial siting group will likely head into a closed-door executive session July 10 to determine the “financial adequacy” of the former owner of the wind farm project and whether it was done legally by a Nov. 1 deadline, as well as whether the deep pockets of the new owner from Spain are sufficient to get the project built, according to sources involved in the meeting interviewed by Cowboy State Daily.

The cornerstone of the special meeting is to review financial adequacy statements of the wind farm development’s sponsors, according to an announcement issued by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Industrial Siting Council, which is tasked with the job of examining new energy projects in Wyoming.

Dusty Spomer, chairman of the Siting Council, could not comment on the matter at press time.

The 504-megawatt Rail Tie project, which is located to the southeast of Laramie, is expected to benefit Albany County by generating $130 million in new tax revenues, according to figures provided by the new owner of the project to Cowboy State Daily.

The dust-up over the future of Rail Tie is the result of the Fish Creek Preserve Homeowners Association, which had filed a lawsuit to halt the development. The group claims that the bureaucratic mess on whether to build the project has been upended because of the Industrial Siting Council’s missteps.

“They don’t know what they are doing,” said John Davis, a homeowner in the Fish Creek Preserve area and a retired accountant and lawyer involved in the lawsuit to halt the wind farm development.

Ruins View

The Fish Creek Preserve homeowners oppose the development of the Rail Tie wind power project near Highway 287 outside of Tie Siding because it “diminishes the value” of the association’s properties in “the view scape” of the area, according to Davis.

Davis has an important role in the July 10 meeting.

He will participate because of his designation as an intervenor in the litigation filed against the project. He also signed a nondisclosure agreement to not discuss the financial muscle of Rail Tie’s developers.

However, Davis said that the previous owner could not have gotten the project built without the “credit enhancement” of its private equity parent.

As background, the special meeting July 10 relates to a Dec. 4, 2023, order by the Industrial Siting Council that approved the so-called Rail Tie wind project.

But Davis and his group said that the council approved the “financial adequacy” of the previous owner by not sharing the financial resource information with his group, which is an intervenor in the case. This was done outside of the legal bounds of how power projects are supposed to be approved, Davis said.

The legal mess has grown murkier because of the entrance into Wyoming of a new owner of the project. Davis claimed that the new entrant may have to start the Rail Tie permitting process all over because of his claim that the ConnectGen “financial adequacy” process wasn’t done properly last fall.

Spanish Connection

Last fall, Spanish energy giant Repsol broke into the U.S. market for onshore wind power with a $768 million deal to buy Houston-based renewable energy firm ConnectGen from private equity firm Quantum Capital Group. This is how Rail Tie came into the hands of Repsol.

Quantum’s renewable energy arm, 547 Energy, owned ConnectGen.

The deal to buy ConnectGen closed with regulators in March.

ConnectGen, founded in 2018, operates 278 megawatts of solar energy projects in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Its nationwide development pipeline features more than 20,000 megawatts of wind power, solar power and energy storage projects.

Repsol told Cowboy State Daily in a recent statement that it remains committed to the Rail Tie project.

“We continue to work on the development of this project, which is an important part of our portfolio in the U.S.,” a Repsol spokeswoman said in an email statement from Madrid, Spain, where the company is headquartered.

Pat Maio can be reached at

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Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.