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New agency aims to build an energy strategy for Wyoming
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New agency aims to build an energy strategy for Wyoming

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Dry Fork Station

Dry Fork Station in Gillette is home to the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, where carbon capture technology is being researched. The Wyoming Energy Authority published a request for proposal, indicating the need for a consulting firm to help craft the state's energy strategy by facilitating "stakeholder feedback and process control."

The Wyoming Energy Authority is on the lookout for help developing its new and improved “energy strategy” for the state.

As the newest governmental body to form here, the Wyoming Energy Authority is tasked with charting the course for the state’s primary industries. What that looks like on the ground largely remains to be seen as the agency gets up and running.

But its mission is to diversify and grow Wyoming’s critical energy sectors, with a particular emphasis on strengthening coal, oil and natural gas production as well as expanding transmission infrastructure and carbon capture throughout the state.

It recently published a request for proposal, indicating the need for a consulting firm to help craft the state’s energy strategy by facilitating “stakeholder feedback and process control.”

Sarah Young, the Wyoming Energy Authority’s director of public affairs and communications, said the agency was still in the “very beginning stages of the process,” when it comes to developing such a strategy.

The request provides few specifics on what direction the energy strategy could take, but does suggest potential opportunities for public outreach.

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One of the statutory tasks assigned to the hybrid agency was to “develop, administer, update and communicate the Wyoming energy strategy,” in coordination with the governor and the Legislature’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.

The Wyoming Energy Authority officially launched on July 1 after the Legislature moved to combine two existing state agencies involved in energy into one: Wyoming’s Pipeline Authority and Infrastructure Authority.

At a June 1 legislative committee meeting, Mark Stege, chairman of the agency’s board of directors, described it as a “one stop shop for industries that want to do business in Wyoming,” by helping companies obtain financing, bonding, grants and permits to develop.

Adopting a new energy strategy at this time in Wyoming’s history will be no small task, especially given the unprecedented pressures facing the nation’s coal and oil sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Wyoming’s governor and Legislature have taken a firm stance in support of the state’s traditional energy sectors. They have not only introduced new laws to incentivize the use of carbon capture on coal-fired power plants, but also launched an investigation into a leading utility’s attempt to retire its coal fleet and transition to renewable energy, among several other strategies to keep Wyoming’s economic backbone alive.

The agency’s new executive director, Glen Murrell, will present updates to lawmakers at a committee meeting scheduled for Nov. 5.

Requests for proposals for the facilitator are due Oct. 23. More information is available at: www.wyoenergy.org.

Follow the latest on Wyoming’s energy industry and the environment at @camillereports

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Energy and Natural Resources Reporter

Camille Erickson covers the state's energy industries. She received her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Before moving to Casper in 2019, she reported on business and labor in Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington.

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