Library from Wyoming
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.
The Glenrock wind facility in Wyoming blew a blade. The 39 megawatt project which includes 26 GE 1.5 megawatt turbines, was built on an abandoned coal mine. It was placed in service in 2009.
Description: The Glenrock wind facility in Wyoming blew a blade. The 39 megawatt project which includes 26 GE 1.5 megawatt turbines, was built on an abandoned coal mine. It was placed in service in 2009.
US developer Wasatch Wind has postponed the completion of a 100MW project in Wyoming until 2013 due to legal appeals by an opposition group, which have forced it to terminate a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the state's largest electricity utility.
Meanwhile, with the delay for Pioneer I construction until at least 2013, Wasatch's 50-megawatt power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power was terminated because the company could not fulfill the contractual terms to begin delivering power in October. The agreement is vital to the project because it assures financial backers that the wind power can be sold.
Wasatch said the delay comes because numerous legal challenges to the project by the Northern Laramie Range Alliance have made it impossible to start generating power on that site by October, forcing the company to break a power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power.
Reed and Scott paid phone solicitors to make cold calls to investors, telling them that the wind farms were being constructed jointly by private investors and the U.S. government. Potential stakeholders were told that "government funds had been set aside by the President of the United States ...these alleged wind farm projects."
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday denied a petition by the Northern Laramie Range Alliance that would have effectively killed a pair of adjacent wind farms on ridges in the Mormon Canyon area, proposed by Wasatch Wind of Park City, Utah.
No developer with state turbine permits in hand has abandoned a project, Parfitt said. But a number of wind farms are on hold, have yet to complete additional construction phases or are still dealing with a range of issues.
The Sweetwater County Commission approved a temporary halt to applications for commercial wind farms, pending changes in county rules and public meetings. The county has not met state standards for wind farm zoning, and Commission Chairman Wally Johnson said that the county is not ready for any new wind farm projects.
The Northern Laramie Range Alliance appealed the permits granted by the Converse County Commission in May and by the state Industrial Siting Council -- a state board that must approve large commercial projects in the state -- in June.
Mead has expressed concern that the higher taxes might make wind energy companies look outside Wyoming. Nonetheless, the Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee last fall rejected the governor's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a lower 2 percent impact fee on wind projects to support county governments.
Hard winters usually limit animals to certain areas where wind blows snow away and food is available. If those are the same places where turbines exist, and elk or antelope avoid turbines, it could hurt the winter survival rate of the herds, Beck said. "It is an area of research that we don't have a lot of information on.
Duke-American Transmission Company acquired the 3,000-megawatt-capacity Zephyr Power Transmission Project, committing to use at least 2,100 MW of the transmission line's capacity to provide wind power to California and the southwestern United States from the wind-rich areas of eastern Wyoming.
The Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee in October shot down Mead's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a 2 percent impact fee on wind projects to support county governments. Despite that setback, Mead said he's not giving up on addressing the wind taxation issue.
Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, a member of the Senate Revenue Committee, said Tuesday he doesn't believe the wind industry is taxed enough. He said the 2-percent impact fee that Mead and others had supported, "really unacceptably lowered taxes on the industry, and I don't think that was appropriate."