Wyoming Legislature Nixes Wind Tax Hike, But Utility Penalty Bill Still Alive

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By Editors of Power Engineering

One of two bills proposed in the Wyoming State Legislature that target the production of renewable energy has been killed by the state’s House Revenue Committee.

A proposal by Scott Clem to increase taxes on wind generation from $1 per MWh to $5 per MWh failed to pass 2-6, according to the Wyoming Business Report.

House Bill 127, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Madden and Sen. Cale Case, was proposed as a means to even the playing field between wind and fossil fuels, Clem said. He also believes that wind is treated favorably over fossil fuels.

However, both local governments and power generation entities opposed the bill. Roxane Perruso, vice president and general counsel for Power Company of Wyoming, said it wasn’t fair to change the tax structure just as her company’s Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project received final approval from the Bureau of Land Management.

The project would build 500 wind turbines with a total capacity of 1.5 GW, with an option to double its size in the near future. Both phases are estimated to cost $9 billion.

The Wyoming Joint Revenue Committee had already turned down a similar proposal to increase wind generation taxes to $3 per megawatt hour in September.

However, another renewable-related bill, Senate File 71, is still alive and has been forwarded to the Senate Corporations Committee. That bill, sponsored by Sen. Larry Hicks, would penalize Wyoming utilities that do not generate 95 percent of the power sold within the state from approved resources – which do not include wind or solar, the Billings Gazette reported.

Under the bill, any electricity generated outside that range would face a $10 per MWh penalty. Rocky Mountain Power is reviewing the bill and has not yet issued a public comment.

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