wind power

Wind Power Controversy In Wyoming

Jun 29, 2018
PRI’s The World

Strong winds blowing through a gap in the rocky mountains could generate electricity in Wyoming. And customers in California want to buy it. But wind power's a hard sell in Wyoming, where coal is still king. A state with an economy built on coal  - has a chance to develop a green resource. As part of PRI's The World "50 States" project, reporter Jason Margolis has more.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

After hearing more than five hours of public testimony, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee rejected a bill Thursday that would have increased the tax on wind energy production.

Wyoming currently taxes production at $1 per megawatt hour, the only such tax in the nation. The state is facing a major budget shortfall because of the downturn in coal, oil and gas production. Raising the wind tax came up as a possible way to generate revenue for school construction. Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, introduced the failed proposal to raise the tax to $3 per megawatt hour.

Charles Cook via Flickr Creative Commons

  

There’s no doubt Wyoming is an energy state. With its low population most of the energy produced from fossil fuels and now increasingly from wind are sent to other states, here’s a fun fact: roughly two-thirds of all the state’s energy production gets consumed in other states.

There’s a problem though: the nation’s energy transmission system, whether pipes, wires or train tracks, are rapidly aging. In a new report, the Obama administration calls for updating the grid, which is bringing cheers from Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis.

Stephanie Joyce

The energy futures of Wyoming and California are becoming increasingly intertwined. Late last month, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he’s speeding up the state’s transition to renewable energy, with a goal of reducing emissions 40 percent by 2030. Just days later, a major transmission project to carry Wyoming wind power to California received its final environmental review.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

 

A massive Wyoming wind project that would send electricity west has gotten approval for an important part of its plan. The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that key infrastructure components of the proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Project have cleared environmental review: a road, a rail facility, and a rock quarry.  Heather Schultz, the project manager from Wyoming’s Bureau of Land Management, said these elements will be vital for building and operating the wind farm.  

Stephanie Joyce

Wind power is a growing part of the energy mix in the United States. And along with that growth, there are new job opportunities for people to install and repair the 30-story-tall wind turbines. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a unique skill set is required -- the fearlessness of a pro rock climber along with the know-how of a skilled mechanic.

An environmental group is suing the federal government over eagle take permits. The permits allow wind farms to kill a certain number of protected bald and golden eagles annually without penalty. In December, the Fish and Wildlife Service changed the duration of the permits from five to 30 years in response to industry lobbying.  Wind companies said the shorter period didn’t provide enough certainty for investors.