Wyoming lawmakers float measure to bag share of federal wind fees

Dive Brief:

  • Six Wyoming lawmakers, led by Republican Sen. Ogden Driskill, have proposed a joint resolution calling for the state to receive half of monies collected by the federal government when renewable energy projects are sited on federal land.
  • If approved, the Casper Star Tribune reports that the resolution would urge U.S. Congress to send back to the state a portion of rent or fees collected in association with carbon-free energy projects.
  • According to the newspaper, fossil fuels in Wyoming contribute up to 70% of the state’s tax income.

Dive Insight:

Wyoming lawmakers want to see the state rake in more money from renewable energy as revenues from traditional sources decline from market fluctuations, and are looking for ways that won't increase taxes on the industry. But whether lawmakers can pressure the federal government to send money back to the state remains to be seen.

Last year, the state's lawmakers rejected a proposal to increase taxes on wind production. Wyoming is one of just a few states propose a tax on wind power. 

Such a revenue course change would use funds generated by projects like the proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which would have a nameplate capacity of 3,000 MW. But unlike the previous tax proposal, asking for half of fees and rent on federal lands would not raise costs for project developers.

State Rep. Michael Madden, co-chair of the Revenue Committee, has indicated he wants wind producers to pay comparable tax rates to oil and gas developers.

Wyoming is one of the most wind-rich states, but remains largely undeveloped in part because regulatory issues. In particular, a lack of transmission lines  and avian deaths have stymied development.  

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Regulation & Policy
Top image credit: Flickr; Carl Wycoff