CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Lawmakers in Wyoming have voted down two bills intended to increase the tax burden on companies generating electricity from solar or wind energy, which already pay property, sales and use taxes.
The House Revenue Committee on Thursday voted to not advance a pair of renewable energy tax bills to the full House, The Casper Star-Tribune reported.
The first bill would have levied a $1 tax on each megawatt hour of electricity produced from larger solar energy facilities, similar to a tax currently enacted on wind energy facilities.
“I just feel like it’s an equity issue,” said Republican state Rep. Albert Sommers, who sponsored the bill. “Because I do think we are missing out in the state of Wyoming in getting revenue generated from those nontraditional (energy sources). I think it is important that these industries pitch in.”
The second bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Timothy Hallinan, would have increased an existing wind generation tax by 100% and eliminated an existing three-year tax exemption for new projects. Currently, the state charges $1 a megawatt hour of electricity produced on wind facilities after three years of operation.
Wyoming Department of Revenue Director Dan Noble said the current wind production tax generates about $4 million a year.
Hallinan argued the state doesn’t charge enough for developers and that the extra revenue would be beneficial as the state faces a multimillion-dollar shortfall caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic.
Utility companies, power producers and several county and town officials have opposed the tax policies, arguing that increasing the tax burdens would deter future renewable energy investment as demand for fossil fuels and its revenue declines.
Those in support of the bills argued renewable energy firms could afford to take on the extra cost.