A group of Wyoming legislators in the state's House and Senate — all representing coal country and all avowed climate deniers — have introduced a bill that would ban Wyoming power companies from using solar or wind power by 2019, and requires non-renewable power to account for 95% of the state's power by 2018.
The bill is not expected to pass.
The bill's sponsors are Senator Larry Hicks (Larry.Hicks@wyoleg.gov/(307) 383-7192); Senator Ogden Driscoll (Ogden.Driskill@wyoleg.gov/(307) 680-5555); Representative Mark Baker (Mark.Baker@wyoleg.gov/(307) 371-5113); Representative Jim Blackburn (Jim.Blackburn@wyoleg.gov/(307) 275-2647); Representative Scott Clem (Scott.Clem@wyoleg.gov/(307) 660-7141); Representative Roy Edwards (Roy.Edwards@wyoleg.gov/(307) 680-4290); Representative Tyler Lindholm (Tyler.Lindholm@wyoleg.gov/(307) 282-0968); Representative Michael K. Madden (Mike.Madden@wyoleg.gov/(307) 684-9356); and Representative David R. Miller (David.Miller@wyoleg.gov/(307) 857-5789).
Under this new proposal, power providers could continue to generate and sell wind to customers outside of Wyoming without a penalty—but they would be hit with a fee for providing that same power to in-state residents and businesses. Utilities that fail to meet the proposed standards would face $10 penalty for each megawatt hour of energy the utility fails to procure from approved sources and the utility couldn't recover this penalty by raising customer rates.
Pacific Corp.'s Rocky Mountain Power and Black Hills Corp.'s Black Hills Energy are among the utilities operating in Wyoming that could feel the bill's impact because some of the electricity they provide to the state comes from clean energy sources now. Spokespeople from both companies told InsideClimate they are still reviewing the bill and wouldn't comment further.
When asked about the motivation for the bill and concerns about it driving away future wind generation, bill sponsor Republican Rep. David Miller from Fremont County said, "Wyoming is a great wind state and we produce a lot of wind energy. We also produce a lot of conventional energy, many times our needs. The electricity generated by coal is amongst the least expensive in the country. We want Wyoming residences to benefit from this inexpensive electrical generation."
SENATE FILE NO. SF0071 [Senator(s) Hicks and Driskill and Representative(s) Baker, Blackburn, Clem, Edwards, Lindholm, Madden and Miller/State of Wyoming]
(Image: Pilsen and Pollution, Señor Codo, CC-BY-SA)