By Bob Beck
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House of Representatives easily passed a bill that would tax wind generation, despite heavy opposition from the energy industry.
The bill would impose an excise tax of a dollar per megawatt in 2012. But study of the issue will continue. Cheyenne Republican Pete Illoway says imposing a tax before the issue is fully understood is the wrong approach. But Buffalo Republican Mike Madden disagrees. He says industry needs to know that a tax is coming: "We don't know if it's the right amount. I think we all pretty confident that it is too low. We just don't know how low it is. But we are making kind of a policy announcement that energy generation will be taxed by the state."
Wyoming is the first state to consider a tax on wind energy generation. Some Representatives fear that could keep companies from developing wind here. But House Revenue Committee Chairman Pete Anderson says developers will still come, because Wyoming has the wind.