Library from Wyoming
CHEYENNE – If lawmakers in Wyoming are to consider a wind energy tax increase in 2018, it won’t come from the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee.
On Tuesday, the Joint Corporations Committee will discuss reducing the contract period to three years and add language to current statutes ensuring that utilities don’t overpay for the power they are required to buy. Their ultimate goal, they say, is to make sure rate payers in Wyoming are getting the best deal.
The wind industry breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night when the U.S. Senate’s proposed overhaul of the tax system avoided cutting into a subsidy relished by wind developers and utilities. But at the same time, a handful of lawmakers in Wyoming are showing a renewed interest in increasing taxes on wind.
The developers are also focused on keeping the White House engaged in the project. Without the federal government’s backing through WAPA, TransWest Express would lack the use of eminent domain, a major tool that Trump often relied on in his past life as a real estate mogul. It’s the ability to take ownership of private land for public use.
Sen. Cale Case doesn’t dislike wind power, but he believes that putting up wind turbines reduces the beauty of Wyoming’s wide open panorama, its steppes and its sagebrush-coated hills. And the Republican senator from Lander believes wind should be taxed for taking away that view.
A wind turbine that caught fire and sparked a wild fire northeast of Evanston, Wyoming. The turbine is one of the 80 Vestas 1.8 MW turbines (total 144 MW capacity) at the Wyoming Wind Energy Center. The facility is owned and operated by Nextera Energy Resources.
Early construction is ongoing at the site near Rawlins, and needs to continue without pause if the company is to qualify for the federal subsidy. If it qualifies for the tax credit, it would last for up to 10 years, she said. Firms that began construction by last year keep the subsidy for a decade. The Power Company of Wyoming is not confident that the second phase of development, for an additional 500 turbines, will qualify for the tax credit.
Bottom line, staff and the ratepayer groups contend that PGE simply doesn't need another wind farm right now, particularly in the Gorge. Wind farms produce lots of energy, but they are inherently unpredictable, meaning they can't be relied on to fill the capacity ...During the region's recent heat wave. wind farms in the Gorge were often producing little to no electricity.
The Commission had earlier been approached by Aaron Branam, project manager for EDP Renewables of North America LLC, regarding changes to the county’s land use plans pertaining to wind energy regulations. The commissioners were unanimous in their decision to not change the regulations, citing the welfare of the county’s citizens, environmental impacts, and land values as factors in their decisions.
CHEYENNE - Wyoming could be at a crossroads when it comes to a potential boom of wind energy projects in the state.
The long-term need for greener electricity and our timeless winds are why our great-grandchildren may never experience many of our beautiful Wyoming vistas as the indigenous peoples and pioneers did and the way we do now. More likely, they will see an industrialized landscape — one scarred by thousands of bird-smashing turbines, high-tension lines and innumerable utility roads. Where we see the joyous freedom of open space, they will have to peer through a fragmented, tattooed landscape.
SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power unveiled a 20-year plan today to provide electricity to its customers that includes adding more solar and wind and making existing wind turbines more efficient. The $3.5 billion plan also incorporates building a segment of the Gateway West transmission line to facilitate the wind expansion.
Oklahoma wind developers are fresh off a record-setting year. Only Texas installed more wind capacity in 2016, a fact that thrusts the Sooner State's power markets into a sudden transition and is agitating opponents along the way.
“The routes unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in Northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Amazon’s latest wind farm in coastal North Carolina has completed construction and is weeks from beginning operations—and state legislators have just asked the incoming Trump administration to shut it down.
Under the bill, if electricity were generated by wind or solar in Wyoming to serve customers in the state it would come with a $10-per-megawatt-hour penalty. That penalty would be double the suggested tax hike on wind also under consideration this legislative session.
In a statement, Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate for the Wilderness Society, said the two newly approved routes “unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage-grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Driving Interstate 80 home to Lander from Cheyenne recently, I crested the commanding rise in Carbon County looking west toward Walcott Junction, just a few miles after beginning the descent from the Elk Mountain plateau. From this wonderful spot, you can see more than 25 miles toward Sinclair and Rawlins and gaze south up the Saratoga valley and north toward the Shirley Basin.
Power Company of Wyoming could get two permits as soon as January if Fish and Wildlife gives final approval to the plan. One permit would allow removal of unoccupied eagle nests during construction of the first 500 of potentially up to 1,000 turbines. A five-year permit would allow up to 14 golden eagle deaths a year during operation.
County Planning Director Sid Fox said a zoning permit is usually required to start construction on a wind farm, but said due to the fact the two were simply requesting to dig holes to beat the colder weather and to meet the requirement for the production tax credit, they did not need the permit.