Land and resource managers have a comprehensive new map of coal and wind energy resources information for southwestern Wyoming. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Wyoming State Geological Survey released the map as Part A of a two-part energy map and data series.
Developed as a component of the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative, this publication compiles coal, including coal-bed methane, and wind resources data in southwestern Wyoming. It adds maps and information on electrical energy sources in southwestern Wyoming to previously published maps of oil and gas development for the entire state.
“This map ably demonstrates the value of the USGS’s integrated science that reaches across both conventional and renewable energy sources to provide new products in a seamless manner,” said Marcia McNutt, USGS director. “Users are able to immediately assess the geographic extent of power production from different sources as well as the relative capacity as the nation’s energy mix evolves with time.”
The USGS and WSGS coal and wind map for southwestern Wyoming is presented in the form of a geographic information system (GIS) data package over 100 layers that can be used as overlays in GIS products or analyzed as a stand-alone map.
The primary focus of the map is electrical power sources, which is why coal and wind were included. Coal dominates Wyoming’s electrical power generation, and several coal mines are within the study area. Most are surface mines, with only one underground coal mine. In addition to the coal resource, many of the coal deposits contain enough gas to be potentially economic.
Wyoming contains significant wind energy potential. Electrical generation capacity of eight wind farms operating in southwestern Wyoming was approximately 674 MW in 2010, with an additional five wind energy projects proposed or underway. Nationwide, wind capacity reached 39,135 MW in 2010.
Data for the map came from published USGS and WSGS materials on coal and coal-bed methane assessments and maps, wind turbine spatial mapping and attribution, and the National Coal Resource Data System, as well as information from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Bureau of Land Management.
The energy map for southwestern Wyoming was created as part of the WLCI’s ongoing efforts to disseminate online energy resources data for multidisciplinary science investigations to collaborators, land and resource managers, as well as the public.