- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A not-so-windy year added to Wyoming’s energy revenue woes as the state took a hit in tax revenue from electricity generated at wind farms.

Revenue fell from $4.4 million in 2014 to $3.7 million in 2015, the Casper Star-Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1ZHV7JE ). That’s a 15 percent drop.

The Cowboy State was first to tax wind production, with a $1-per-megawatt-hour tax starting in 2012. Statewide, wind generation ranged around 4.4 million megawatt hours in 2012, 2013 and 2014 before dipping to about 3.7 million megawatt hours last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Less wind apparently accounts for the decline in generation and revenue, said Paul Murphy, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, one of Wyoming’s top wind-power players.

“Some of our plants were 9 and in some cases 12 percent lower than normal,” Murphy said Tuesday.

Converse County led the state in wind tax collections last year, generating about $1.6 million in revenue. Wind projects brought in $759,000 in Carbon County and $731,000 in Uinta County.

Natrona County had the steepest decrease from 2014 to 2015, with a 25 percent drop to $96,667 last year.

Wyoming’s wind production capacity has remained unchanged since 2010, when turbines at Duke Energy’s Top of the World facility outside Glenrock began generating power. Insufficient transmission capacity has stymied further wind development in the state.

“I think the only thing we can take from this, based on the last three years of data, is it is a small revenue stream, but it has its own volatility,” said Rob Godby, a University of Wyoming professor who studies energy industry economics.

The decrease comes as Wyoming’s income from coal, oil and natural gas extraction dwindles, leading to a projected $477 million state revenue shortfall over the next two years.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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