Lawmakers seek to capitalize on Wyo. wind

Source: By Heather Richards, Casper Star-Tribune • Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In the next five to seven years, the amount of wind power in Wyoming is expected to triple, according to the University of Wyoming’s Wind Energy Research Center. “Utilities want wind these days,” said Jonathan Naughton, the center’s director. “Not because of environmental policy. They want it because it’s cheap.”

Federal tax credits for wind production are set to expire in two years, and developers are scurrying to take advantage. At the same time, a $1-per-megawatt-hour wind tax, coupled with other factors, has kept wind production in Wyoming behind other states such as Colorado and Montana.

Because coal’s future is uncertain, some lawmakers are looking to wind to contribute more to the tax base, although a recent bill to do so failed.

“There is just a lot on the table right now,” Republican state Sen. Cale Case said. “I don’t think people even understand that these projects multiply the number of turbines that we have now”