Richard Garrett Jr., legislative advocate for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, argues that House Bill 179, the energy efficiency bill, would help electric utility customers audit their energy consumption and finance energy efficiency improvements. The full Senate will debate the bill next week.

The bill was introduced in the Wyoming State House by Reps. Keith Gingery and Ruth Ann Petroff, with the hopes of enabling this program to be implemented in Teton County where the availability of power is capped at 85 megawatts.

The power company has informed Teton County that without an energy efficiency program the residents of the county (its customers) might be subject to a tripling of their energy costs and/or rolling brown-outs in the coming years.

House Bill 179 makes good environmental sense and serves the public good. Here’s why:

  • By establishing an energy efficiency program, one that can be adopted statewide, the House energy efficiency bill will be part of the solution to reducing the need for new coal-fired power plants. It can also reduce or cap loads on existing plants and help to avoid the installation of new and costly energy transmission corridors, which disrupt open space and wildlife habitats. Meanwhile it can be part of the effort to reduce the human health impacts of burning coal for energy. Power plant emissions are known to cause human health problems (a just-released study by the Harvard Medical School estimates human health costs in the Appalachian region of the United States alone to be $74.6 billion).

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