Power to the People; New interactive site features Cowboy State’s electrical generation

The Wyoming State Geological Survey recently launched an interactive web site featuring electrical generation in the Cowboy State. Among the offerings is a map of electrical generation facilities and an extensive database of each facility ranging from the Happy Jack windfarm in Laramie County to the 2-megawatt capacity Old Faithful fuel-oil facility in — you guessed it — Yellowstone National Park.

“We developed this website as an information portal for management and policy decisions related to Wyoming’s energy resources and electrical generation,” State Geologist Tom Drean, director of the WSGS, said in a prepared statement.

Wyoming coal powers 77 percent of all electricity generated in Wyoming, according to WSGS. But other resources show steady increases over the last two decades. Renewable wind power generation now accounts for 16 percent of Wyoming’s electric generation portfolio, hydropower 3 percent, and natural gas 3 percent. Oil accounts for 1 percent of the total power generation in Wyoming.

In 2011, Wyoming’s 53 electrical generation facilities had a combined maximum capacity of  8,744.4 megawatts, according to WSGS. The vast majority of that electricity is shipped out of state.

“This information is important to track because while oil and natural gas represents a smaller portion of generation compared to coal, the use of these fuel sources has remained constant,” Drean said. “Based on the data, we have also noticed an increase in wind power capacity in Wyoming, an increase in small hydropower projects, and that a significant amount of power is generated by companies for their use,” he said.

Also available on the website is a WSGS Summary Report on Wyoming’s Electrical Generation, with data compiled by Jim Stafford, a WSGS geohydrologist. The four-page full-color brochure covers coal, wind, hydropower, and natural gas and includes graphics on the production and capacity of each fuel source, as well as a state map on the locations of electrical generators and power lines.

“This summary serves as a snapshot on the current state of electrical generation in Wyoming, and is intended as a reference guide,” Stafford said. “The website is the main tool that we will routinely update with current and relevant information on all the energy resources that provide for Wyoming’s electrical generation, and in comparison to other states,” he said. “The primary focus of the website is the data on Wyoming’s electrical generation production and capacity,” Stafford added.

— Contact WyoFile editor-in-chief Dustin Bleizeffer at (307) 577-6069 or dustin@wyofile.com.

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. I’ll be looking this power generation website over to see how comprehensive it is on one point: what level of emission control technology are Wyoming’s powerplants built to ? A list of the dirtiest, most polluting coal fired powerplants in the USA always includes the big Laramie River plant outside Wheatland near the top. It powers the computer I am writing this on in Cody , since my City of Cody is part of a Wyoming municipal consortium that is part owner of the plant, so I don’t mind pointing this out. Even newly built plants in Wyoming , like the Two Elk plant south of Gillette run by the North American power Group Inc. , are ” old school” and even Wyoming’s own state DEQ found Two Elk’s air quality permit to be deficient. The new Dry Fork Station powerplant also near Gillette is an old school polluter , emitting 4 million tons of CO2 and a lot of mercury , etc.

    So this website that promises ” a snapshot on the current state of electrical generation in Wyoming, and is intended as a reference guide…” will hopefully touch on the issue of emmissions as well. Why do I already think it will not ?

    Wyoming is a global leader in greenhouse gas production , but that rarely makes headlines in our rush to develop and sell as much coal as possible using the shortest most ‘streamlined’ permitting process.