As Wyoming faces a growing budget shortfall, the state is looking at ways to generate additional revenue, including possibly raising the state's wind tax. The Joint Revenue Committee will consider a proposed tax hike at its meeting this week.
Wyoming is currently the only state in the nation that taxes wind energy production. Producers pay $1 per megawatt hour of electricity generated. Last year, that brought in $3.8 million to the state and counties.
Representative Michael Madden is co-chair of the Revenue Committee. He says wind should pay a similar tax rate as coal and gas, even though it is a renewable resource.
“I can’t see any fundamental reason to treat one different from another," he said. “We just want to make them all comparable, so we’re not showing favoritism to one generating source over another one.”
Gas and coal taxes vary with the price of those commodities, while the wind tax is fixed. Power Company of Wyoming, which has proposed building the largest onshore wind farm in North America in Wyoming, says the state's analysis is flawed. The company wrote in comments to the committee that increasing the tax rate could put Wyoming a disadvantage to other states when it comes to developing wind energy.