Library from Wyoming
Companies that erect huge and sometimes disruptive wind turbines, Freudenthal believes, should pay for the right to do so. Lawmakers agreed, approving a tax of $1 per megawatt hour of wind energy production, initially estimated to generate $4 million a year to be divided between the counties and the state.
Completion of Top of the World and Dunlap I could mark a turning point for Wyoming's fledgling wind energy industry. Both Duke Energy and Rocky Mountain Power say they have no further plans to plant wind turbines in Wyoming. ...Picard said the tone of the current policy discussion on wind energy in Wyoming seems to be very anti-wind.
Freudenthal says he might favor limiting wind energy developers to using eminent domain to secure only the last few parcels of private property needed for a project as long as they had negotiated with landowners for most of what they needed.
A realtor's survey in August found the values of homes adjacent to the wind farm had declined; and, in the case of Stan Mundy, whose property abuts the project, that his home was "virtually unsellable" at a reasonable price. It also found no area home sales had been made by realtors in over a year. But county records show 11 homes have sold in the past year (apparently through private sales).
"If we can restrict eminent domain in any way I think our landowners support that because we believe these issues should be addressed through private negotiations and agreement, not through holding a gun to somebody's head and threatening eminent domain."
Taylor said in his report that rural property close to town is usually in good demand, and noted he’s the agent for one parcel in the area. He has had over 50 inquiries on his listing in about two months, but 40 dropped interest after learning about the location. “In follow-up with the inquiries, the number one reason for not having genuine interest in this property is because of the proximity of the wind towers.”
Dunn said Friday that TransCanada was turning its focus to a similar-sized transmission line called the Zephyr, which is planned to run from southeastern Wyoming to south of Las Vegas. The company successfully solicited bids from wind developers to ship 3,000 megawatts on the Zephyr line.
"They've said it to the legislative committees. They've said it to the Industrial Siting Council. And then suddenly when the first time comes to pay, here come the blue suits, the lawyers, and say, ‘Oops; never mind. All of that stuff we have been saying, we didn't mean it.'"
Duke Energy's dispute with tax assessments over its wind farms in Laramie and Converse counties could impact nearly $15 million worth of property assessments in Laramie County alone. ...Gov. Dave Freudenthal is appalled by the tax dispute. The company boasted how much it would contribute in property taxes.
Converse County's experience with Duke Energy and property taxes the company owes should serve as a cautionary tale for all Wyoming counties counting on wind energy development to improve their economy. It should also spur state lawmakers to re-examine tax exemptions they've approved to help bring more wind farms to Wyoming.
During a recent hearing of the Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee, co-chairman John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, said he believes Duke may have knowingly supplied false information under oath in its past testimony to the Industrial Siting Council. "Now it appears the people who testified for Duke Energy were not straightforward with their testimony, and I object to that," Schiffer said in a phone interview.
Supporting wind turbines with the nation trillions of dollars in debt, with their minimal or nonexistent contributions to global warming and virtually no useful power generation, enormous cost and the "feel good" reason for their existence is like supporting an unemployed person taking his unemployment check and buying a hot tub.
Land use regulation almost always triggers property-rights objection. In this case, a vocal minority of the eight landowners that have signed with the promoter assert that their "private property rights" should let them force industrial development into the Northern Laramie Range. This is nonsense. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the issue nearly a century ago: Reasonable restriction on land use, established through appropriate public process, is not a "taking" of private property.
Plenty of utility-owned wind turbines spin day and night within a stone's throw of Medicine Bow, but Mayor Kevin Colman says his town really hasn't benefited much. "All the energy is produced in Wyoming, it's shipped out of Wyoming. It never stays here," he said. He also says wind farms provide little employment. Even during wind-farm construction, out-of-state contractors usually bring the subcontractors with them.
In the latest in an ongoing series about roadblocks to clean energy in the region, Molly Messick of Wyoming Public Radio and KUNC in Colorado, explores how the Sage Grouse is hampering wind development in Wyoming.
Before you obediently give over this state to a massive waste of money and environmental damage, research the turbines and learn why this cannot work. (And not the page the sellers put out -- they want money and really don't appear to care about honesty. There are many letters to editors in other states from people who were lied to by the wind developers.) Then advocate for power that does work, does not leave the East Coast in the dark and is commercially viable.
Gorny said BLM officials delayed the release of the document in order to address comments received during the internal administrative review process, as well as to clarify management objectives related to sage grouse and visual and other public resources.
The BLM's Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices are seeking public input as part of a planning review of the resource management plans that will guide wind energy and other development on public lands in southern Wyoming. BLM officials said the agency is responsible for ensuring that the scenic values of the public lands within the two field office regions are considered before allowing uses that may have negative impacts.
Campbell County supported Third Planet getting the permit, but expressed several concerns about the project that it wanted addressed by the Siting Council, including a road use agreement, the set-back distance of the turbines and the bonding of the project.
In this surreal debate, perhaps it's worth remembering that though it has been four centuries since Cervantes' character Sancho pointed out to Don Quixote, "Look, your worship ... what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go," we still must look at things honestly for what they are, not just for what our fantasies want them to be.