Wind turbines near Hanna catch the light at sunset in November 2017. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

Are you concerned about the discussions regarding rising energy costs and their impact on our residential and commercial utility bills throughout Wyoming?


We are, too. 

As small business owners, ranchers, parents and energy professionals, we know that every Wyomingite has seen increased costs over the last several years, and each one affects us. They affect our ability to make ends meet at home, keep the lights on at our jobs and preserve our Wyoming businesses throughout the state. 

We understand that keeping costs low and within budget is essential to many sectors of our everyday life. The recent discussions and data clearly show that the newly proposed utility increases are primarily due to the rising prices of natural gas (89%) and coal (38%) over the last two years. However, the conversation has instead focused on falsely blaming renewables and a possible moratorium on future renewable projects. 

The problem isn’t renewables. Renewables are helping to combat these rising costs and are currently less expensive than natural gas and coal. Yet some leaders are trying to put a moratorium on renewable energy development. 

You don’t have to be a renewable energy supporter to benefit from renewable energy.

The fact is that Wyoming needs to embrace all of the above energy policies now more than ever. Our state is selling energy – ALL energy, whether inside Wyoming or to surrounding neighbors in the Western Interconnection Grid covering the western United States. 

Renewables are a vital part of our economic and energy future. This statement does not mean we support or envision a future where our legacy industries disappear. Wyoming and our national grid need consistent baseload power from coal and natural gas. Where renewables assist is in lowering utility costs and diversifying our economy. 

Photovoltaic power. (Randy Montoya/FlickrCC)

Over the last decade, solar and wind costs have significantly decreased while sources like coal and natural gas have continued to rise. Much of these changes are due to market increases as our legacy industries are traded on the open commodities market. Banning renewables only threatens to increase rates for both residents and industry further.

A diversified energy portfolio is essential to our Wyoming economy and remaining competitive, as many neighboring states, including North and South Dakota, are taking full advantage of energy production — including wind and solar. We cannot afford to pick winners and losers regarding energy and technology. All forms of energy generation are critical to Wyoming and the ability to keep costs lower for the consumer. 

Wyoming and its leaders must look at the data and not blame renewables when they keep utility costs low, provide revenue, create new jobs and diversify our economy. 

Let’s look at the facts, and not create policies that hurt our future. Let’s embrace an all-of-the-above energy policy and create a more robust energy sector in Wyoming for generations to come. 

Powering Up Wyoming Advisory Board:

Richard C Grant, Dr. Jonathan Naughton, Mark Eisele and Gunnar Malm

Powering Up Wyoming believes in a diverse mix of energy resources including include wind, solar and storage capabilities.

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  1. We already have the technology for unlimited cheap nuclear power. We are just too afraid to use it. New nuclear power plants would be far safer than the ones built in the 1960’s and 70’s. If we really want to lower costs, then build nuclear power plants.

    1. It is out there already. If you attended any of the Public Comment Meetings about RMP’s Rate Increases you would hear them talking about it. And they are building a plant near Kemmerer and they plan to build more in WY in the near future, look out Rock Springs. I’m not happy about it but I’m just an ant in the Universe of those in power. Just wait till we are the ‘WSN’ wind, solar and nuclear state instead of the equality state, it’s coming soon to a neighborhood near you, too.

      1. Wyoming hasn’t been the “equality” state in decades. The current crop of “leaders”, and those who voted for them, have assured equality is all but forgotten..

  2. I see so much energy wasted everyday in Cheyenne. I imagine the same is true all over the state. Everybody wants to blame the government when they should be looking at their own home, add their own gasoline usage. They also need to look at stop wasting water. We need to be more friendly to the environment in general and continue to look for ways to solve energy issues. It is going to take a multifaceted approach to solve the problem . Coal, natural gas, wind, Solor and other developments that may help solve problems

    We like the government when we benefit from it, but we don’t like the government when we don’t like some thing they are doing.

    We the people need to use less energy.

    Also, it appears that the legislators or ex legislators that are asking for coal and natural gas have financial interest in those commodities.

  3. I don’t see any mention of hydropower. Wyoming has the ability to produce a wonderful renewable source. A great example is the dam being proposed for Little Snake River Valley, just think if a hydropower plant was included, how many more people it would serve

  4. Times are tough for Wyoming, but wind power is not the answer. Anything that is subsidized and cannot support itself on its own merits cannot be considered helpful to the state as a whole; it only financially benefits those individuals whose land they are on – and for how long? Does the green energy movement address just how the wind turbines are being made & transported? Does it address how much oil they take to run? As for solar, all of those batteries used to store energy come at a HUGE environmental cost – yet no one mentions that either. As someone who is forced to live right next to a large wind farm, they destroy wildlife, are loud and block views. There must be a better way.

    1. You’re referring to oil, gas and coal are t you? All three of those industries relies on low public land royalties, tax subsidies and price supports as well as handouts to encourage development some 100 years after they were begun…

  5. One thing people do not understand is renewable energy sources are nearly completely pollution free.. Each time a blade makes a complete revolution it produces enough energy a house would normally use in a day! It time we start looking into the future and stop trying to justify the past! We still have nuclear in thorium reactors yet to be developed and nuclear fusion is just around the corner. Coal is not in the future because if you live in a coal plume you might think differently about coal! For all you climate deniers it’s a horrible legacy your leaving for the next couple of generations if we don’t start taking what is happening to weather patterns and fix this problem!

    1. “One thing people do not understand is renewable energy sources are nearly completely pollution free.. Each time a blade makes a complete revolution it produces enough energy a house would normally use in a day! ”

      The dreams of renewable energy promoters may be shattered in this reply. The blade on a wind turbine that you are referring to… is not pollution free. It is made of fiberglass, which is literally made of glass. Glass is heated up in furnaces which has all of the pollution concerns you have with fossil fuels, because those furnaces are indeed using fossil fuels. The glass is then forced through tiny holes to make glass fibers that are then mixed with resins that are produced by the hated petrochemical industries that also can and do pollute. It’s OK for the dreamers of pollution free energy as we can just buy those resins from China and India and other countries that do not control pollution as we do in North America.

      For each KG of molten glass used for fiberglass production a KG of CO2 is released as well as NO2, SO2 and other pollutants. (paraphrased)

      Silicone for Solar panels is produced by heating Silicone Dioxide with Carbon at 1460C to make (1)Silicone and (2) Carbon Monoxide. Carbon Monoxide is poisonous to humans might simply be released contained where it will slowly react with Oxygen to form… Carbon Dioxide. If Carbon Monoxide is released to the atmosphere it reacts with chemicals that normally destroy Ozone and Methane in the atmosphere and thereby increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Oh, and by the way, the furnace used to melt the Silicone Dioxide is normally fired with natural gas or electricity produced from Coal. It is one of the reasons China is the biggest producers of solar panels.

      China starts up new Coal fired power plants at a rate of two per week.

      Our demands for clean renewable energy face the other problem of needing electrical storage using networks of Lithium Ion Storage batteries as well as devices requiring huge amounts of Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt, Tantalum, Copper, Rare Earth minerals and other mined materials. Many of these materials are mined in countries like Congo where mines use child labor extensively, essentially slave labor. Then processed with heat, that is produced with Coal fired plants.

      The human and environmental costs of renewable energy are not “completely free”. they are merely amplified and passed to countries that are exempted from the Paris accords. In other words, we are exporting pollution and human suffering to obtain “clean energy” in the USA. Will we regret pushing coal plumes to countries not regulated by the Paris accords?

      Thorium and nuclear fusion are again both currently dreams, as Mr. Randolf noted… “not yet developed” and “around the corner”. It took about 35 years since Chicago Pile 1 (1942) to have the beginning of a rapidly growing nuclear power industry in America. Currently nuclear power generation is about 1/10 of fossil fuel power generation. The latest nuclear plant construction was Vogtle site expansion units 3 and 4. Authorized in 2009 and unit 3 completed just July 31, 2023. Note: Nuclear power is not renewable energy. Thorium and Fusion energy have yet to be developed and are not renewable sources.

  6. Attacking American energy independence by shutting down pipelines, cancelling drilling permits illegally, because they were codified by the prior administration of Donald Trump, is NOT SUPPORTING OIL AND GAS, LIKE YOUR ARTICLE CLAIMS !!
    Plus, the lip service for “ALL OF THE ABOVE” IS DISENGENUOUS, TO PUT IT POLITELY ! RMP has been lying through their corporate teeth to all Wyomingites for a long time now. I say it’s high time for the state of Wyoming to kick RMP to the curb ! In the meantime, all of that power leaving MY state, needs to be taxed at say, 2,000%. The legislature needs to pass legislation that permanently caps any rate increases at 3% annually. The excuses that are being used to justify this money grab are only the beginning. Time to Cowboy Up Wyoming ! We deserve better.

    1. Right now, America is producing more oil and gas than at any other time in our history.
      Exporting of oil and gas and products has inflated the cost of energy here and the only people profiting are the energy companies. Google the profits, they are at record levels.
      Stopping the export of oil and gas will lower prices here at home and will stabilize the domestic market.

    2. Mark: The citizens of Wyoming need to continue ensuring that all sources of energy produced in wyoming is heavily taxed in order to keep this state well financed at all levels of government. Currently we “export” our taxes to the consuming states via taxes such as ad valorem and severance taxes which subsidize each Wyoming citizen something like $2,000 per person – I hear figures that the energy producers pay almost 70-80% of the tax revenue in wyoming and allow us to avoid state income taxes and enjoy a 4% state sales tax and relatively low property taxes. Exporting our taxes must continue and become inclusive of wind, solar and nuclear energy production. We do not have a diverse economy and important segments of the economy which other states depend on – such as manufacturing – are largely missing from our economy – so we must remain dependent on energy exportation to the other states. However, the impact on Wyoming’s landscape will continue.

  7. Rather than using debt or equity financing to obtain capital for building renewable energy projects, RMP expect customers to fund the projects. What do the customers get in return other than higher bills? Sounds like Warren Buffett wants to change his Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program from being voluntary to mandatory.

    1. I’m all for consumers paying for improvements to energy grids and infrastructure, but they also should own those same improvements and be tapped into dividends and also be able to sell their shares when they decide…

  8. Good editorial. However, there is one glaring omission. Anthropology climate change. The “all of the above” strategy ignores the fact that we must stop burning fossil fuels now. Obviously that will be phased in gradually. Carbon capture and sequestration is an option but that adds to the cost and has yet to be implemented at scale.