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In windswept Wyoming, debate swirls on taxing wind industry

Wyoming is the 8th-windiest U.S. state, and ranks 12th in wind power installations. The electricity generated by wind in 2009 nearly doubled that produced in 2008.  Yet Wyoming is the first state in the country that is considering taxing wind energy production.  The proposed legislation is motivated by a desire to see wind turbines ‘pay their fair share.’   Beginning in 2012, it would levy a $1-per-megawatt-hour tax on wind energy production.  The minimum projected revenue from the tax is $4 million per year, to be split between the counties where the wind energy is produced, and the state.  The wind energy industry thinks it’s a bad idea.  Theyre afraid  a tax will scare off developers just as the industry is getting started, especially because other states are creating incentives to lure wind projects and jobs.  The impact of the tax on Wyoming’s nascent wind energy industry is uncertain, but it’s clear that the differing interests of the concerned parties must be finely balanced.

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