Wyoming lawmakers will soon take up the thorny issue of whether to impose new taxes on wind energy development, a proposal that developers say could stunt the fledgling industry's growth in Wyoming.
Supporters of a new tax say it's only fair for wind projects to contribute to state and local governments equal to other energy industries. Opponents say Wyoming taxes are already high compared to surrounding states and any new tax would be premature.
The Joint Revenue Committee will consider two proposals to tax wind electricity generation at a Wednesday meeting in Cheyenne.
"I am hopeful that this legislative session will develop some means for there to be state and local revenues derived from the development of wind resources in the coming decades," Gov. Dave Freudenthal said recently. "You can pretty clearly demonstrate that (the wind industry) is not overly taxed and they certainly don't make the contribution that other forms of energy do."
The Wyoming Power Producers Coalition, representing 15 wind development companies, is fighting any new wind tax in the upcoming legislative session.
Executive Director Cheryl Riley said developers are willing to pay their fair share of taxes, but the state has time to come up with an appropriate tax because development is slowed down by a transmission bottleneck and ongoing land management issues related to the sage grouse, she said.