As Montana continues to subsidize and mandate the use of wind power on electric utility customers, our neighbor to the south is looking to tax the so-far untouched green power industry.
Stateline.org picks up on a story first reported in The Casper Star Tribune detailing the wind taxes set to take effect in Wyoming, and plans for more on the way.
Wyoming’s first-in-the-nation tax on wind energy production was an easy call for outgoing Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat who believes that the energy firms tapping into the state’s abundant natural resources — including wind — should pay their fair share. After all, Wyoming is the eighth-windiest state in the nation, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
As he recounted in an interview with Stateline earlier this year, Freudenthal sees Wyoming’s new tax, which doesn’t go into effect until 2012, as “the first opportunity in my lifetime to diversify our tax base.” Companies that erect huge and sometimes disruptive wind turbines, Freudenthal believes, should pay for the right to do so. Lawmakers agreed, approving a tax of $1 per megawatt hour of wind energy production, initially estimated to generate $4 million a year to be divided between the counties and the state.
Meanwhile, an earlier report in The Casper Star Tribune details the response to the tax from the wind energy industry in Wyoming:
“I do think there’s going to be a little slowdown, and I think some of it has to do with these policies. And part of that is taxation,” said Cheryl Riley, executive director of the Wyoming Power Producers Coalition.
Wyoming’s sales tax exemption for commercial wind energy equipment is set to expire in 2011. Then in 2012 a new wind energy generation tax of $1 per megawatt hour begins. Those are in addition to existing property taxes.
Wyoming lawmakers are considering increasing the generation tax significantly – to $5 or $7 per megawatt hour.
Wait, you mean higher taxes hinder business development? Who would have thought that given the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC.