renewables

AP Photo/Matt Young

University of Wyoming researchers are exploring the wake that is produced by wind turbines.

Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock.com

The National Solar Tour will give Wyomingites an opportunity to learn about solar power from their own neighbors.

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power's renewable energy program turns 20 this year. So far, it has helped over 20 Wyoming organizations start renewable energy projects.

Expected coal retirements based on Pacificorp's 2019 IRP preferred portfolio
Pacificorp

The Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) has begun a week-long hearing regarding its investigation into a western utility's 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) released in October, 2019.

Image of HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery on its website
HollyFrontier

HollyFrontier Corporation, a Texas-based independent petroleum refiner, announced it plans to transform its Cheyenne Refinery to focus on a new product and reduce its overall workforce by about 75 percent. Rather than producing conventional diesel, it will now look to renewable diesel.

The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

The rough map of Pacificorp's transmission expansion throughout the Mountain West
Pacificorp

A large western utility with customers in 10 western states including Wyoming is preparing to make its largest request for new renewable energy ever. It's a step towards executing its October 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.

A proposed wind farm in southern Idaho could become one of the largest in the nation.

 


www.nrel.gov

There were only six bills centered on renewables this session, but you'd be forgiven to think there were many more. Even when it wasn't the topic of conversation, renewables were on lawmaker's minds.

Solar jobs are up across the U.S., after two consecutive years of declines. But that growth is mixed in our region.

According to the latest report from the nonprofit solar energy advocate, The Solar Foundation, more than 5,600 solar jobs were added last year.

Cooper McKim

South of Laramie, there's a road that goes straight into the plains. Over the hill, it's just open country, boulders and eventually, a tan house with a large porch facing the Rockies.

When it comes to greenhouse gases, much of the attention is being paid to energy production. But since 2017, the transportation sector has actually been the biggest emitter nationwide.

A new study shows that global wind speeds have increased in the last decade, and that may allow wind turbines in the Mountain West to generate more clean energy.

As an increasing number of states focus on renewable energy, batteries are becoming more of a necessity. And according to a new report, battery costs are dropping—but not enough to compete with fossil fuels.

The report comes from Climate Central, a nonprofit organization that studies the impacts of climate change. In it, the authors state that batteries and renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper by the year.

Reintroduced legislation incentivizing more renewable energy projects on public lands is getting rare bipartisan support.

New legislation that aims to significantly increase renewable energy utility projects on public lands is receiving strong bipartisan support.

Members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources were united in support of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act.

A solar project in our region is opening up conversations around building wildlife protection into renewable energy infrastructure.

Net generation by renewable sources across all sectors. Two fastest growing are wind (orange line) and solar (green line)
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Multiple proposals from Democratic presidential candidates are calling for a full transition from fossil fuels to renewables over the next 10 years. Independent analytics firm Wood Mackenzie was interested in the numbers behind those proposals. It found a transition would take closer to 20 to 30 years. Dan Shreve, head of global wind energy research at Wood Mackenzie, co-authored the report.

Consumption of renewables and coal from 2008 to 2018
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest data projects renewable energy to generate more electricity than coal in April and May of this year. It would be the first time wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energies will have surpassed the prolific resource in monthly U.S. generation.

Tri-State’s coal fleet costs versus regional renewable energy benchmarks - within RMI report
Rocky Mountain Institute

An electric power cooperative could save over half a billion dollars by transitioning away from coal to renewables by 2030. That’s according to an independent analysis of the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association portfolio. The association, however, criticized the report as lacking in expertise.

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.

Bureau of Land Management

Driving west across Wyoming, there are windmills lined up across bluffs in the distance. Oil and gas rigs dot both sides of the highway. Open-pit coal mines too. What you won’t see on a cross-state trip are any fields of solar panels. In Sweetwater County, that could soon change.

Sweetwater Solar Energy Project Project Overview
Bureau of Land Management

A potential solar energy project in southwest Wyoming obtained a permit last week moving it a step closer to construction. The Sweetwater Solar Energy Project, to be located near Green River, would be the largest the state’s ever seen, providing 80 megawatts of generating capacity to the electrical grid. That’s enough to power almost 12,000 homes each year, according to a project description given to the Bureau of Land Management.

Panel at the "Future of Solar" event with Cheyenne Representative Dan Zwonitzer on the left
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Legislators, businesspeople, and residents came together in Laramie Wednesday to discuss the future of solar energy in Wyoming. The event was organized by the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

Annual Solar and Biomass Electricity Capacity (2014-2017)
Electric Power Monthly / U.S. Energy Information Administration

Solar generation surpassed biomass in 2017 to become the third most generated renewable resource in the U.S., according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It still lags behind wind and hydropower.

Energy Trends Conference held by the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Coal has railroads, oil and gas have pipelines, but transferring renewable energy isn’t so easy. Wyoming has one of the best wind resources in the country, though many see a ceiling to its success due to transmission capacity limits. 

Retired electrical engineer Lisa Hecht loves nerding out about solar energy.

The Boise resident has a solar light for emergencies, a solar battery pack she uses to charge her cell phone and a solar oven she swears makes top-notch steel cut oats.

CC0 License

Teton County contributed $250,000 toward a shared solar energy facility in Jackson. The solar farm was approved by the town council this past August. Instead of individuals and business buying their own panels, customers will buy solar power from the plant.

The chair of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners, Mark Newcomb, said the farm will help alleviate pressure from their main source of energy: hydropower.

The High Plains wind farm, near McFadden, Wyoming.
Leigh Paterson

  

The debate over tax reform has finally come to an end. Congress has passed its bill, and the President has signed it. But what’s it all mean for western energy?

Renewable Energy Threat Removed

CC0 License

Jackson's town council made way for more solar investment last week, allowing customers to buy into the soon-to-built solar farm. 

The shared solar system would be based out of a farm at Jackson’s wastewater treatment plant. The solar farm, itself, was approved by the town council this past August. The idea is for new customers to buy solar power from a farm, rather than buying panels themselves. 

Johnny Ziem, Jackson’s wastewater plant superintendent, co-developed the idea for a shared solar farm. He said the next step is to solidify new customers.

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