Wyoming seeks to increase a tax on wind energyAugust 17, 2016
State lawmakers consider increasing a four-year-old tax on wind
As one of the largest wind energy systems in the United States inches closer to beginning construction in Wyoming, state lawmakers are looking to increase taxes on one of the state’s most plentiful resources: Wind. Four years ago, state lawmakers effectively declared Wyoming to be the owner of the winds billowing throughout the state. In doing so, lawmakers instituted a tax on wind resources, generating approximately $15 million in tax revenue over the past four years. Now, legislators hope to increase taxes on wind in order to generate more money.
Major wind energy system to generate enough electricity to power 1 million homes
The large wind farm is being built by Power Co. of Wyoming. The wind energy system will generate enough electricity to power approximately 1 million average homes, with this energy being funneled to California and the Southwest. The project has the potential to make Wyoming a major player in the renewable energy market after suffering from the rapidly falling prices of fossil-fuels, including natural gas. The state has long exported much of its fossil-fuel resources in order to generate revenue, but the growing popularity of renewable energy has placed this business in jeopardy.
Industry shows concern for potential tax increase
Some of those in the wind energy industry have expressed worry over the potential tax increase on wind power in the state. Wind developers have been heavily reliant on government incentives and financial aid to build promising projects. Higher taxes could mean that these projects take longer to develop due to financial concerns. This may be the case for Power Co.’s project, which already shoulders a major financial burden due to its sheer size.
Wyoming may not be in an ideal position to raise tax on wind
According to Power Co. and other energy developers, several other states without abundant wind resources are offering incentives to support wind energy systems. These companies believe that Wyoming is in no position to increase taxes on wind. The companies suggest that doing so would make the state a much less competitive market when it comes to wind energy projects.