wind energy

Miria White

The White family cabin sits at the base of Boulder Ridge with a stunning view of the Laramie Valley. Today, Michelle White is canning beans, the pots rattling on the stove. But Michelle and her daughter, Miria gesture out their giant picture window at the prairie.

Jeff Victor


As energy companies look to build more wind farms in southeast Wyoming, the issue of wind development has bitterly divided residents of Albany County.

The wind and solar industries made historic gains last year. Both reached new highs in energy production and capacity in 2020.


Leigh Paterson

In a 4-1 vote, the State Board of Land Commissioners approved the Rail Tie wind project in Albany County on Thursday, January 21. This reverses the Commission's previous decision in November to not extend the lease.

Wind Farm Near Wheatland
Holly Copeland

The legislature's Joint Revenue Committee once again considered and voted against a bill that would have raised the generation tax on wind. This time from $1 per megawatt hour to $2 per megawatt hour. The bill would have also removed a three-year tax exemption enjoyed by wind energy producers.

Melodie Edwards

A new survey finds that Wyoming residents support all forms of energy in the state.

Location for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project. Several in public comment spoke from the county, along with a project official
Power Company of Wyoming

The state legislature's Joint Revenue Committee set aside time during a recent meeting to learn how the wind industry is currently being taxed in the state; no bill on the subject was under discussion.

McFadden Wind Farm
Leigh Paterson

The Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee voted to sponsor and move forward with a bill that would effectively raise the tax on generating wind energy in Wyoming. The bill removes the three year tax exemption given to companies before a $1 per megawatt hour tax sets in.

Rail Tie Wind Project project location based on the ConnectGen website
ConnectGen

The state board of land commissioners has voted against leasing land to a renewable energy company planning to build a wind farm in Albany County. Local opponents raised concerns during the public meeting about the project's various impacts.

AP Photo/Matt Young

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

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.

Wind Farm in Medicine Bow, Wyoming
Tony Webster, Portland, OR

The House Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee moved forward on a bill that would allow coal mines to become a disposal site for decommissioned wind turbine parts if it's part of the company's reclamation plan.

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.

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.

Forecasted revenue from different versions of the bill
Legislative Service Office

Wyoming's Joint Revenue Committee let a bill die without a vote that would have levied a tax on electricity generation whether it's coming from coal, hydroelectric, or wind. Members of the committee considered the Electrical Generation Tax as a way to generate additional funds for the state which is looking at a major budget deficit. This bill could have raised funds ranging from $3 million to $190 million per year.

Seven Mile Hill Wind Farm in Carbon County
Cooper McKim

Wind power expansion in our region could soon face a new challenge. The International Trade Commission is considering a tariff on wind turbines. Domestic manufacturers argue several countries are selling turbines below fair prices, undercutting the U.S. industry.

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.

Rocky Mountain Power plans to break ground on a $3.1 billion-dollar statewide wind energy project this week.

Taxes Paid ($/MWh) by State After Incentives - Wyoming's tax is still $1, not $5
University of Wyoming / Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy

Wyoming is not the best state in the U.S. to develop wind. A new report out of the University of Wyoming shows the state is actually in fourth place nationwide. Authors of the report said even that position is vulnerable since Wyoming legislators have been pushing for increases to the wind tax.

Uranium, coal, oil and gas, and wind energy are all being discussed this legislature -- and the word of the hour is revenue
Cooper McKim/Wyoming Public Radio

The big hitters in the energy industry are all back on the docket this session: coal, wind, uranium, and oil and gas. Unsurprisingly, the focus is on revenue for all of them. Here’s a look at a few of the bills still under discussion.

Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons

Energy companies in Wyoming are offering programs for customers to switch to renewable energy. Customers can pay between $5 and $15 per month to make their homes completely carbon neutral. Partial plans are also offered.

Cooper McKim

On a vast swath of prairie lined with 79 wind turbines, new blades are delivered on the backs of 18-wheelers. Laine Anderson navigates the snow-packed service roads. He oversees wind operations at Rocky Mountain Power, an operating entity of Pacificorp. Anderson parks under a massive turbine.

Wind Farm Near Wheatland
Holly Copeland

Wyoming has a lot of wind energy but conservation biologists warn Wyomingites need to pay attention to how turbines can be harmful to wildlife. Biologists are figuring out ways to protect wildlife while still producing wind energy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska spoke with Holly Copeland, the director of science for the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming, on which animals are in danger.

Breakdown of direct, indirect, and induced jobs per 100 new employees for wind, coal, and slaughterhouses
Patrick Manning, Matthew Halama, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services / Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

A new report outlining the status of Wyoming's economy and workforce shows slaughterhouses could create more indirect and induced jobs than wind and coal state lines employees.

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.

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.

Senate President Eli Bebout Speaks To Full Senate
Cooper McKim

It’s the third of four weeks in the 2018 budget session. With the current revenue crunch, many bills have revolved around spurring new revenue, finding new sources, or cutting back on spending. And for energy, it’s no different. The surviving bills also come down to money. Thirteen bills arose related to energy, with only three still moving through the system. There are others that relate, but are not directly tied to energy.

Madelyn Beck

What should Wyoming’s stance on Wind Energy be?

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air. 

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

Renewable energy organizations who signed a letter opposing certain provisions in the Congressional tax reform bills
ACORE, AWEA, CRES, SEIA

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have both passed a tax reform bill, and both bills have the renewable energy industry nervous. That includes four organizations 

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