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Ranchers want rules in wake of growing wind energy

Regulation of wind energy is a step that ranchers and landowners can agree needs to happen before it becomes a thriving industry in Wyoming. They've seen what has happened before with coal, oil and coal-bed methane when those industries popped up in the last century, and they want to forego the same troubles as before.

Regulation of wind energy is a step that ranchers and landowners can agree needs to happen before it becomes a thriving industry in Wyoming.

They've seen what has happened before with coal, oil and coal-bed methane when those industries popped up in the last century, and they want to forego the same troubles as before.

But wind energy is in a different climate than any of the other industries, and it still has many challenges before it will become as big as the others.

Finding ways to transmit the power to the places that will buy it is only the first hurdle that will need to be crossed, said Karyn Coppinger, senior development manager for Invenergy, a wind farm developing company.

Coppinger spoke to members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association on Thursday during the Wyoming Cattle Convention and Trade Show at Cam-plex Energy Hall.

Her presentation took place after a heated discussion by the group on whether the association should support Gov. Dave Freudenthal's task force on taxation and regulation of wind energy. The argument discussed two resolutions to place support in regulation of the industry and the task force, but both failed to pass because of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Regulation of wind energy is a step that ranchers and landowners can agree needs to happen before it becomes a thriving industry in Wyoming.

They've seen what has happened before with coal, oil and coal-bed methane when those industries popped up in the last century, and they want to forego the same troubles as before.

But wind energy is in a different climate than any of the other industries, and it still has many challenges before it will become as big as the others.

Finding ways to transmit the power to the places that will buy it is only the first hurdle that will need to be crossed, said Karyn Coppinger, senior development manager for Invenergy, a wind farm developing company.

Coppinger spoke to members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association on Thursday during the Wyoming Cattle Convention and Trade Show at Cam-plex Energy Hall.

Her presentation took place after a heated discussion by the group on whether the association should support Gov. Dave Freudenthal's task force on taxation and regulation of wind energy. The argument discussed two resolutions to place support in regulation of the industry and the task force, but both failed to pass because of uncertainties.

Because the state recently removed the sales tax exemption status of wind energy and because of the recent call for regulation of the industry, Coppinger said the legislative and regulatory environment in Wyoming is "less than friendly."

Coppinger thinks regulation should stay at the level of the landowner, and the government should not add another layer of permitting.

In some counties, wind farms fall under zoning regulations, which would require permits from county commissioners. Large projects that cost more than $179 million fall under the Industrial Siting Council's purview, and anything built on state land requires state oversight.

However, wind developers are in favor of the governor's task force because they hope it will produce a consistent policy, which will help the developers attract investors.

Some of the ranchers' other concerns included whether they would still be allowed to hunt in a developed wind farm.

Coppinger assured them that hunting will continue amidst the development of wind energy. But she did suggest that the ranchers discuss the issue during contract negotiations.

"Recreational activities should continue, but we don't want anyone shooting at our turbines," Coppinger said. "We will work with them."

Because there are few transmission lines for the power collected from wind farms, and because those existing lines are at capacity, there will need to be more lines built to allow developers to send their power to the markets in California and elsewhere.

"The next (legislative) session will be critical," Coppinger said. "We need policy that encourages wind developers. We need state power authority to get poles in the ground and lines in the air."

Convention Schedule

Several state officials will speak at the convention Saturday at Cam-plex Energy Hall. Here is the schedule:

- Registration opens: 7 a.m.

- Cowboy Wake-up Breakfast: 7:15 a.m., speakers include U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

- General session: 8:45 to 11:30 a.m., speakers include Gov. Dave Freudenthal's wind energy consultant Aaron Clark, Director of the Office of State Land and Investment Lynne Boomgaarden, chief executive of R-CALF Bill Bullard and Perry Pendley, from the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

- Adjournment: noon.


Source: http://www.gillettenewsreco...

JUN 6 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/20552-ranchers-want-rules-in-wake-of-growing-wind-energy
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