In the U.S., solar power now employs more people than any other energy industry, including oil, natural gas, and coal combined, proving that not only is clean energy good for the environment, but it’s also good for the economy.
Never-the-less, lawmakers in the state of Wyoming have introduced legislation to prevent utility companies from using energy derived from solar and wind power, effectively outlawing the most viable sources of clean energy in the state. Entitled, Electricity Production Standard, the measure outlines requirements for the sources of energy that can be used in state or imported from out of state.
“AN ACT relating to electric utilities; establishing minimum 2 procurement requirements for electric utilities; requiring 3 reports; providing enforcement and rulemaking authority; 4 mandating the public service commission to account for 5 specified factors in rate setting; and providing for an 6 effective date.” [Source]
Included in the measure are specifications of the types of ‘eligible generating resources,‘ which lists the types of energy sources which qualify as legally acceptable for electric utilities to use as supplies to their customers, requiring that 95% of energy provided comes from these sources.
“Eligible generating resource” means an 7 electricity generating resource either located within 8 Wyoming or delivering electricity into Wyoming from another 9 state that produces electricity from one (1) or more of the 10 following sources or system:
(C) Natural gas
(D) Net metering system, as defined by W.S. 19 37-16-101(a)(viii)
Net metering systems are included in the list of eligible sources, which would allow individuals to use renewable power generated on their own properties, however large-scale solar and wind projects would be regulated out of the market, should this measure pass.
Compliance would be enforced with the levy of fines against utility companies for supplementing their supplies with wind and solar sources.
“Under this proposal, if a utility provided energy produced by a large-scale wind or solar plant to Wyoming residents, it would be fined $10 per megawatt hour sold. Only energy from coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, oil and small-scale, privately-owned solar panels and wind turbines could be sold without repercussions.” [Source]
Wyoming is one of the most fossil fuel energy rich states in the union, which perhaps gets at the motivation for this initiative, as entrenched monied interests have long had undue influence on local, state and federal governments.
It remains to be seen whether this measure will actually be passed and become law, however, as it stands it represents an aggressive posture against the growing demand for clean energy projects to be put into broad use.