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Tax Talk Raises Concern From Company Developing Wind Project

Increasing Wyoming’s tax on wind generation could derail a proposed 1,000-turbine wind farm in Carbon County.

Fri June 24, 2016 - West Edition #13
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Increasing Wyoming’s tax on wind generation could derail a proposed 1,000-turbine wind farm in Carbon County.
Increasing Wyoming’s tax on wind generation could derail a proposed 1,000-turbine wind farm in Carbon County.

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) Increasing Wyoming's tax on wind generation could derail a proposed 1,000-turbine wind farm in Carbon County, a representative of the company behind the project said.

“The discussion of increasing the taxes on wind puts the project at risk,” Roxane Perruso, vice president and general counsel of Power Company of Wyoming, said. “It's another uncertainty. One that was unexpected, coming just after our announcement to start construction by the end of this year.”

Members of the Legislature's Joint Revenue Committee are discussing two proposals that would raise wind taxes. One plan would increase the tax per megawatt hour of wind produced in Wyoming, while the other would require wind companies to give up a portion of a tax credit they receive from the federal government.

The discussion comes as Power Company of Wyoming continues to seek permits for its proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project south of Rawlins.

Perruso told the Rawlins Daily Times that the prospect of higher taxes adds more uncertainty to the project. Perruso noted that Power Company of Wyoming doesn't have any customers lined up yet to buy the wind power to be produced by the project.

“The decision by the revenue committee to draft the two bills creates the question if we are going to take on this additional risk,” she said.

The downturn in the state's mineral extraction industry has cost state coffers hundreds of millions of dollars, prompting the look at other sources of revenue.

“The simple truth of the matter is that wind can't make up for the lost revenues in and of itself, and the fact that our wind project goes forward or not has absolutely no impact on what is happening with coal,” Perruso said. “In fact, wind is a way for Wyoming to diversify its economy at the exact same time it needs to do that very thing.”

The Legislative Joint Revenue Interim Committee is tentatively scheduled to meet next on Sept. 22 and 23 in Buffalo.

For more information, visit http://www.rawlinstimes.com.


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