Wind Power News: Wyoming
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
BOISE – A Hailey, Idaho-based environmental organization has appealed the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of a high-voltage transmission line route through sage grouse habitat on public land and requested a halt of the start of construction. The Gateway West Transmission Line was jointly proposed by Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power and would span more than 1,000 miles from Glenrock, Wyo., to Melba, Idaho, including 850 miles of 500-killovolt line. Officials of Western Watersheds say the route they prefer, BLM’s . . .
In all, about 5,700 miles of transmission lines are in development with the goal of delivering renewable energy to California from other states, according to the Western Interstate Energy Board. Such investments are an outgrowth of an emerging paradox of California’s well-known political bent toward aggressive environmentalism. Green power advocates and state officials want more wind power – but California conservationists increasingly oppose more wind farms as an environmental blight on the state’s pristine desert landscape.
CHEYENNE – A group of lawmakers killed a bill Tuesday that would have penalized utilities for providing Wyoming customers with electricity from wind or solar energy. Senate File 71 stated six energy resources could create electricity without being fined, including natural gas, coal and hydropower. Utilities that used wind or solar would have had to pay $10 per megawatt hour to the state. The bill’s sponsors said it was a challenge to renewable energy standards, such as one in California that . . .
The first couple weeks of 2017 have been topsy-turvy time for wind energy firms in Wyoming, and those that hope to be operating in the state soon. The year started out with State legislature file 127. That bill proposed increasing the state’s tax on wind energy generation from $1 to $5 per megawatt hour. Another bill proposed in the legislature would essentially penalize local utilities who purchase green energy from producers. Yet despite these spots of bad news, Power Company . . .
RAWLINS – Senate File 71 is not a prohibition on generating renewable energy in Wyoming. According to one of its sponsors, Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, the bill’s intention is to spare the Wyoming citizenry high utility rates and maximize the state’s revenue intake. “There is absolutely no prohibition on generating renewables in Wyoming,” Hicks said in a phone interview on Saturday. “It won’t affect the wind farm in Rawlins one iota because all of that electricity is distributed out of . . .
CHEYENNE – Lawmakers defeated a bill Monday that would have quintupled the state’s wind production tax. Wyoming is the only state with a wind production tax – currently $1 per megawatt hour of electricity. House File 127 would have increased it to $5 per megawatt hour. But the House Revenue Committee defeated the measure, 7 to 2. Rep. Mike Madden, a Buffalo Republican who was one of the bill’s sponsors, said the measure would have equalized taxes paid by fossil fuels . . .
The start of the legislative season in Cheyenne has prompted a statewide discussion over how lawmakers should address a budget crisis caused by falling industry revenues. A cycle of ups and downs, good years and bad, is expected in Wyoming, where coal, oil and natural gas pay most of the bills. While the state’s residents wait for better economic news, the return of jobs and a rise in commodity prices, some lawmakers are focusing their energies on an industry they . . .
The outgoing Obama administration announced today it formally approved routing the final two stages of a massive Wyoming-to-Idaho power line project mostly outside the boundaries of a federal raptor sanctuary and across more private property and greater sage grouse habitat than critics say is necessary. The Bureau of Land Management’s record of decision (ROD) for the final two stages of the nearly 1,000-mile-long Gateway West Transmission Line Project would appear to move the project forward and end years of conflict . . .
As renewable energy production in the United States continues to grow, wind farms figure to remain a fixture of the Wyoming landscape in coming decades. The United States currently gets 5.8 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar, and the U.S. Department of Energy has said it hopes to increase that to 20 percent by the year 2030. At the same time, scientists are still learning how wind turbines change the environment around them, perhaps . . .
The Bureau of Land Management has authorized the final routes connecting the high-voltage Gateway West transmission line project between southwestern Idaho and central Wyoming. The BLM’s Record of Decision, signed Friday, means Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power can build and operate 321 miles of 500-kilovolt transmission lines on public land in Idaho’s Gooding, Elmore, Owyhee, Cassia and Twin Falls counties. The route avoids sage grouse habitat and private land, but crosses about 9 miles of conservation area for raptors. . . .