Wyoming gives initial approval to US's first 'wind tax'

US: The Wyoming House of Representatives has given an initial approval to what could become the US's first wind energy tax.

Wyoming : naturally rich in wind resource

Two-thirds of the 60-member chamber supported the tax, which will mean a $1 per MW per hour charge for developers.Revenue will be split 60:40 between the state and the counties where the wind farms are based.

Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal has made the bill the focus of his agenda, stating that wind energy did not deserve preferential treatment.

Supporters point out the potential revenue and that the tax would only come into effect in 2012 and only after a turbine had been in use for more than three years.

However, detractors believe the move could damage Wyoming’s ability to bring in wind energy investment. The state is rich in wind resource.

A state task force has been looking at ways to generate revenue from wind energy companies setting up in the Wyoming.

In addition to the tax, legislators have also suggested fees for the commissioning of new turbines. This will be used to pay for the decommissioning of the turbines once ‘they have been used’.

This is largely due to Wyoming’s experience with oil and gas companies who have previously set up in the state and abandoned the equipment once their sites have ceased to be useful.

For more see the upcoming issue March issue of Windpower Monthly