Library filed under General from Wyoming
Wyoming residents enjoy the cheapest electricity prices in the nation, thanks to low-cost power from coal-fired plants near vast surface mines in the Powder River Basin. California, which has all but phased out coal power and has the nation's most aggressive renewable energy laws, has close to the highest prices, according to U.S. Energy Department data.
Utilities are required by a law from 1978 to accept electricity generated by renewable-power projects of less than 100 megawatts. But the law comes with a hitch. Utilities are required to purchase the power only if doing so doesn’t lead to a rate increase for consumers. Current limitations in transmission capacity mean Rocky Mountain Power cannot offer Wasatch a higher price without triggering a rate increase,
The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project south of Rawlins is slowly moving through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact and assessment studies. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have tentative timelines to complete their respective analysis, it is uncertain when construction will begin.
Wind developers previously had to be in commercial production to qualify for the credit. The IRS issued new guidelines in the summer, saying companies only had to show work had begun. The new guidelines are untested in court, said Lay, a lawyer. “I have no doubt they [the developer] will claim to have met these requirements. Whether that claim stands up to the scrutiny of the IRS and its overseers in the Congress is another question."
The changes include moving the locations of some wind turbines and a substation within the project’s already approved area. ...Pioneer Wind Park will be outside of Glenrock, but construction has been stalled after to a series of legal challenges from residents in the area and financial hurdles.
Wasatch saw its financial partner, Edison Mission Energy, file for bankruptcy last year. The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council subsequently gave the company until May 2014 to secure a financial partner ...Wasatch’s troubles were compounded further when its power purchase deal with utility Rocky Mountain Power expired.
At a permit hearing on July 18, 2011, members of the Industrial Siting Council told the company that Edison Mission financing wasn't enough, Esch said. The council wanted to see additional sources of money. The council gave the company two years to show it had additional resources to fund the project. That deadline - July 18 - is approaching, and the company asked for a new deadline of May 2014.
Companies with projects and interest in Wyoming are slowly developing their projects, eyes on the day when they'll be able to transmit their product to customers in other states. But those projects, for the most part, are years from completion. Some may be a decade away from full service.
Under the existing permit, the company has to prove it can fund all aspects of the project by July. An extension would give the company until May 2014 to do so. Edison Mission Energy, a financial partner on the project, filed for bankruptcy in December.
Specifically, the company is asking for a 10-month extension of the July 18, 2013, deadline to meet Special Condition #19 requiring the company to provide evidence of sufficient financial resources to construct, maintain, operate, decommission and reclaim the facility. ...The Industrial Siting Council will meet at 10 a.m. on Monday June 24, 2013, to consider the company's request for the extension.
PCW originally planned to file the application on Jan. 21, but decided to wait to apply to see what would happen with Senate File 49, which, if passed, would have required projects requesting a permit from the ISC to spend 25 percent of anticipated project funds during the first two years of the project.
The company held its application because of concerns over now-dead legislation which could have affected construction on the project. The bill in question, Senate File 49, would have required companies with large enough projects to spend at least 25 percent of the anticipated cost in the first two years after approval.
"While disappointed with the court's ruling, the Northern Laramie Range Alliance believes the outcome is not surprising: As far as we have been able to determine, the ISC has never declined to issue an industrial siting permit in its 40 years of existence," the statement said. The alliance's news release also noted that Edison is in bankruptcy.
The Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance is considering legal action because of its concerns that the Chokecherry Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project would devastate local sage grouse and golden eagle populations. The project, calls for the construction of 1,000 wind turbines on 219,707 acres of land in Carbon County.
The site, which encompasses approximately 2,000 acres of public and private land, will be home to 1,000 wind turbines and produce 2,500 megawatts of electricity. Once completed the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy project will be the largest wind farm in the country.
Fact is the wind companies are getting by with murder. They are allowed by eager politicians and a handful of agenda-driven groups to flippantly throw out boilerplate numbers that have no basis in scientific fact. They don’t produce facts because they don’t have to. Wind is in vogue and the uninformed but trusting public is not getting the data to make informed decisions about wind’s appropriate use.
When the Power Co. of Wyoming started developing plans for the 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project in Carbon County, it estimated paying between $292 million and $438 million in taxes over 20 years. Under the current tax structure, it would pay an estimated $675 million to $821 million.
Wyoming officials have started a campaign to sell Wyoming wind to California and are preparing a similar sales pitch to Colorado. Both states want electric utilities to provide a percentage of their power from renewable sources, such as wind.
"They need to have a little more certainty around the customer base before they start putting in the capital investment," Jensen said. "They are going to make sure they have somebody to sell the towers to. You can't expect a company to lay out capital investment and hire people based on a one-year certainty."
So far this year, no developers have visited the state's Industrial Siting Division to discuss any new wind energy project plans, said Todd Parfitt, administrator for the division, which is part of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.