RAWLINS — Opposition is growing across Wyoming to any increase in the state’s wind-generation tax over concerns it will hurt jobs and stifle development.
The Wyoming Association of Municipalities, Carbon County Commissioners and others said it could also jeopardize efforts to make Wyoming one of the largest wind producers in the United States.
Wyoming lawmakers are considering two measures that would affect the taxes. One would increase the current tax of $1 per megawatt hour of wind produced in Wyoming, and another would require wind companies to provide a portion of the federal Production Tax Credits they receive.
Wyoming’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee’s is expected to consider the options at a meeting on Sept. 22-23 in Buffalo.
The increase could force the Power Company of Wyoming to suspend development of its Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which is expected to cost about $5 billion. The project is expected to produce up to 3,000 megawatts of power.
“People can think of an idea, and they think it’s wonderful. But they don’t see the consequences of their actions. They’ve got to know there’s going to be major consequences if this happens, truly for Carbon County. Why would you want to block a business, an industry, from coming in to your state? Why would you want to do that?” said Cindy Wallace, director of the Carbon County Economic Development Corp.
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In 2015, six wind producing counties — Albany, Carbon, Converse, Laramie, Natrona and Uinta — shared in more than $2.2 million in taxes, with the state’s portion of the revenue at slightly more than $1.5 million.