Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Wyoming
With nearly 90% of its energy coming from coal, there’s no wonder that Wyoming is not considered one of the leading states when it comes to renewables. Having the third lowest price for electricity has also tempered uptake of technologies such as solar and wind. Despite this dependence, 11% of the state’s energy does come from renewable sources, primarily wind, though there is not much in the way of incentives currently available.
Wind power increased dramatically over the seven years from 2003 but seemed to grind to a halt from 2010 onwards with analysts citing transmission problems as the primary cause. The first wind farm ever built in the state, back in 1999, is at Foot Creek Rim and has a capacity of 85 MW. There’s no doubt with all the wind resources available Wyoming could produce much more of its electricity from this source.
If wind power has stalled in the state, then solar PV is currently almost non-existent with just a paltry 1.5 MW of capacity installed, of which about half is residential. There are currently only 11 solar companies in Wyoming employing fewer than 200 workers so the prospects for the immediate future are not particularly good. It’s all the more surprising when you consider that the return on investment is creditable, though the low electricity prices in the state could be a major contributory factor on uptake.
Solar PV Incentives in Wyoming
Another reason why solar PV hasn’t taken off in the state of Wyoming is that there are few incentives available apart from the obvious federal ones. Installers can benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and there is net metering in place but that is about all.
Solar PV Case Study in Wyoming
Wyoming is a cash purchase state so there is no leasing available. You should expect to pay in the region of $20,000 for a 5 kW array and get an immediate boost with the 30% Federal Tax Rebate. With lower electricity bills you can expect to pay off any investment within 15 years, earning a profit over the 25 years of the array of about $15,000. You can also expect the sale value of your property to rise by $14,000.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Wyoming
Solar thermal is an economical and easy to maintain way of providing hot water for a property and is becoming ever more popular across the US. There is more support for this kind of technology with local utility companies providing incentives such as the Questar Gas Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs.
Small Hydro Incentives in Wyoming
There is plenty of opportunity and potential to further develop hydroelectric production in the state. There are two large scale plants currently operating which are the Buffalo Bill Dam and the Salt River Hydroelectric Power Plant. For remote communities and agricultural land there is also the potential for micro hydro which benefits from the Federal Tax Rebate and there is financing available from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants.
Geothermal Incentives in Wyoming
Technologies such ground source heat pumps are ideal for properties that have high levels of insulation, providing a constant heat. While expensive to install they do provide a good return on investment for the right locations and, as with other states, incentives are provided by local utility companies including the Carbon Power & Light Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
Biomass Incentives in Wyoming
While there are no large scale biomass power production facilities in the state, there is great potential for developing these. On a smaller scale, wood chip burners and biomass boilers have long been used for heating homes and providing hot water and many companies and residential properties are switching to this more efficient type of energy production. Most of the incentives for developing this technology on a larger scale are provided by the federal government such as the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program.
Wind Power Incentives in Wyoming
Wind power fares better than most renewable technologies in the state but even this has stalled in the last few years, mainly because of transmission problems. Installing a small wind turbine for local use benefits from the Federal Tax Rebate and for remote areas and farming communities it is a viable form of energy production. While the initial cost is quite high, the return on investment can be good if the right location is chosen.
Wyoming doesn’t have the high level of incentives that other states, particularly in the north of the US, provide to promote renewable technologies. Much is due to the low cost of electricity which means that residential and commercial customers are not as worried about rising prices as in other parts of the country. With such a large commitment to coal fired power plants and plenty of local resources, it’s difficult to see this situation changing anytime soon.
If you want to find out more about renewable technology incentives for Wyoming, visit the DSIRE web portal.