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Working Paper on Economic Impacts if Wind Projects in Wyoming Released through School of Energy Resources

September 16, 2022
Christelle Khalaf

The UW School of Energy Resources (SER) and the Center for Business and Economic Analysis (CBEA) released a working paper measuring the economic impacts of future wind energy deployment scenarios in Wyoming, including potential income from federal revenue-sharing if such a provision were adapted for renewables. In addition, the working paper investigates the permitting process of wind projects and notes the significantly increased timeline when siting on federal land.

The study was led by Christelle Khalaf, the associate director of the CBEA, and was funded through SER’s Center for Energy Regulation and Policy Analysis (CERPA).

“It is a major objective of the School of Energy Resources to provide a holistic analysis of the benefits and challenges that accrue from different energy industries to the state,” says SER Executive Director, Holly Krutka. “Wind projects plays a growing role in Wyoming’s energy portfolio. The research completed by CBEA provides a better understanding of the employment and economic impacts that occur as a direct result of those ventures as well as the challenges associated with citing those projects on federal lands where some of Wyoming’s best wind resources are available.”

The report outlines a comprehensive study of wind energy projects in Wyoming to understand the economic impacts of the projects at both a local and statewide scale. Specifically, the study seeks to determine how wind energy can support job growth and revenue for Wyoming.

To better comprehend the aggregate economic impacts of current and future scenarios of project development in Wyoming, the CBEA research team conducted an economic impact analysis around three distinct deployment scenarios: a “low” scenario (2 gigawatts (GW), a “moderate” scenario (4 GW), and an “aggressive” scenario (6 GW).

Results from the study determined that the three deployment scenarios would bring sizeable economic impacts to the state, as well as large employment opportunities. Additionally, the study shows that wind energy can enhance tax revenues to geographies that would greatly benefit from such dollars.

As a secondary effort to the economic and fiscal analysis, the research team also conducted a review of the permitting process for wind projects in Wyoming, and compared that process across other states. They concluded that meaningful investment into wind energy deployment and consequently economic growth are negatively impacted by the current federal permitting process and associated timeline which poses significant challenges to states with a large portion of federal lands.

“In addition to looking at the potential benefits that wind energy projects can bring to the state, we felt that it was important to document some of the major challenges facing the industry and that are hindering economic growth,” adds Khalaf. “We hope that stakeholders and policy makers will be able to utilize these findings and work toward meaningful solutions to help Wyoming and the many other Western States with significant portions of federal lands within their borders.”

The full study can be found on the working paper website through CERPA. The platform is intended to provide open access to timely and relevant information on important energy research topics in the state, and serve as a method to solicit academic feedback prior to publication.

Wyoming stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to read and discuss material in the working paper series, and may send comments or questions directly to the lead author at his or her email address.

The authors of the papers are solely responsible for the content of their contributions. Authors may post updated versions of the paper to provide readers with their most current findings as pieces continue to make their way through the peer review process and ultimately publication.

Copyright to papers in the SER Centers of Excellence remains with the authors or their assignees. Users should respect copyright of the working paper and give proper attribution when quoting from material. (Please reference SER’s copyright notice for more details).

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