A wind turbine stands on property used by the MidAmerican Energy Co. Eclipse Wind Farm. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Wyoming’s legislature is considering a bill that would effectively outlaw renewable energy in the state.
The so-called “Electricity Production Standard” proposes to penalize utilities in Wyoming for generating electricity from solar and wind energy. The bill would allow electric power to be generated using one of six pre-approved sources, including oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower and coal, to be used by Wyoming utility companies for electricity generation. Neither solar nor wind energy are included on the list of allowed fuel sources.
If the bill is passed, utilities in Wyoming would incur a penalty of $10 per megawatt hour whenever they used wind or solar to produce electricity for state customers.
“I don’t know how seriously to take it,” Rep. Marti Halverson, R-Etna, told the Jackson Hold News & Guide. “My guess is that it’s a little push back to the legislation that is being passed in other states that’s saying, ‘No coal, no how.”
The proposed legislation is arguably the most benighted of the half-baked proposals to promote coal energy floated to date in coal-friendly states. “Coal production has been a cornerstone of the modern Wyoming economy since the 1970’s, and has served as Wyoming’s most stable source of tax revenues over the past four decades,” according to a 2015 study by the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
The study, “The Impact of the Coal Economy on Wyoming,” states that in 2012 coal production alone accounted for 11.3% of gross state product, 4.7% of total labor income and 1.8% of in total state employment. Direct taxation on coal production in 2012 accounted for $1.3 billion in total state and local government revenues.
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