Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Wyoming
Wyoming lawmakers rejected a pair of bills Thursday aiming to raise revenues through the state’s energy industries, one of which would establish an excise tax on electricity production in the state and another that would increase the tax burden for the wind energy industry.
After impassioned public comment on the topic, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions sent a bill to next year’s legislative session that would eliminate a three-year electricity tax moratorium available to new wind energy projects.
Wyoming lawmakers narrowly advanced a bill Wednesday that would remove an electricity tax exemption that applies to new wind energy projects in their first three years, with some on the committee viewing the exemption repeal as a way to potentially help the state's revenue streams.
Despite the topic not being on the agenda, Wyoming lawmakers narrowly voted to propose a bill increasing the tax burden on wind energy producers in the state late Friday afternoon. After impassioned public comment on the topic, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions decided to draft a bill to eliminate a three-year electricity tax moratorium available to new wind energy projects. In a 6-5 vote, lawmakers voted to draft the legislation for review in November.
Once wind facilities have been up and running in Wyoming for three years, the state levies the $1 per MWh wind generation tax. That comes in addition to sales and property taxes. Raising the tax to $4 per MWh would bring the state an additional $1.9 billion.
Committee co-chairman Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, has been a major proponent of an increase in the wind tax. While he was interested in the potential of changes to the state’s wind tax structure, he didn’t think Wyoming needed to worry about its competitiveness with its western neighbors. Considering Wyoming’s placement geographically, Case said developers looking to feed Washington and Oregon with renewable energy wouldn’t be able to stay out of the state, despite a higher cost of development.
RAWLINS – Dr. Rob Godby, an expert with the University of Wyoming Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, told attendees at the annual Carbon County Economic Development meeting on Monday that a large wind production tax hike could hinder local production.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lawmakers spurned a bill to increase taxes on wind energy Thursday, after hearing five hours of testimony from the industry’s developers, utilities, local government officials and ranchers opposed to the proposal.
“The benefits of wind are disproportionately on the West Coast, and the costs of wind are disproportionately in Wyoming — and I mean the social costs,” said Cale Case, a state senator and economist who serves on the Legislature’s revenue committee. “This tiny reflection of the impacts back here, I think it’s just kind of a fair trade.”
The company behind the largest proposed wind farm in the country, in Carbon County, says that uncertainty around Wyoming's wind tax policy is making it more difficult to invest in wind.
Wyoming lawmakers are calling such statements a bluff. The Cowboy State’s bountiful breeze means developers will continue to flock to its vast expanses of wind-blown prairie, regardless of the tax, they say. What’s more, they argue, Congress extended the $23-per-megawatt-hour tax credit for wind producers last year. They contend Power Company of Wyoming can spare some of those proceeds.
Some legislators were unmoved by the pleas made by Miller and other wind proponents to the committee. “If it kills a project, it kills a project,” Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, said. “If wind doesn’t provide some form of significant benefit to the state of Wyoming, I don’t care if it’s here.”
A group of lawmakers, accusing wind farms of “seeking to shut down” the coal industry, drummed up proposals Wednesday to increase taxes on the renewable energy source to raise money for education. ...Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, disagreed, arguing that wind turbines destroyed viewsheds for up to 200 years, a much longer time than mines and drilling rigs. “With wind, that viewshed is lost forever,” he said. “It is severed.”