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UW to Host Emerging Issues Forum on Wyoming’s Wind Energy Future

September 14, 2017

A forum to discuss the opportunities, challenges and trade-offs of future wind energy development in Wyoming will take place Oct. 2-3 at the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

UW’s Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources and the School of Energy Resources’ Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy co-host the forum. Registration is free and open to the public.

Wyoming State Treasurer Mark Gordon will provide opening remarks and also will moderate a panel on community development associated with wind energy. The president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, Cindy Crane, will give a lunchtime keynote.

The event will begin with an overview of state, national and global energy trends and market forces affecting wind energy development; Wyoming’s wind energy potential; and the fiscal impacts of new wind development to Wyoming towns and counties.

The second day of the forum will explore the impacts of wind development on Wyoming wildlife and emerging mitigation tools to reduce impacts; public involvement in Wyoming’s wind energy future; and opportunities for strategic planning and siting.

Developers, business community representatives, scientists, elected leaders, nongovernmental organizations and state officials will provide a broad perspective on the benefits and trade-offs of new wind development; how communities can manage the opportunities and risks; and ways Wyoming stakeholders can shape the future of wind energy development in the state.

Wyoming is home to some of the nation’s best, most reliable onshore wind, and many companies have proposed new wind developments for the state.

“Lower costs for wind energy, a rush to take advantage of the renewable energy tax credit before it expires and changes to the Western energy grid are all spurring new wind proposals for Wyoming,” says Ruckelshaus Institute Director Nicole Korfanta. “This forum is a chance to better understand what those new developments would mean for Wyoming.”

Wind facilities bring the opportunity to diversify economies for some communities, but also the potential for viewshed and wildlife impacts. The conference will explore stakeholders’ diverse perspectives on new wind development and discuss how Wyoming and its communities can manage the trade-offs.

“At a time when Wyoming’s more traditional resources are down, the wind energy sector offers a shot in the arm,” says Rob Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy. “But, any large development creates concerns for Wyoming citizens worried about environmental or viewshed impacts, or just concerned about Wyoming values. Good policy requires considering all these trade-offs to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs the opportunity wind might provide the state.”   

Registration, a speaker list and more information about the forum is available at www.uwyo.edu/haub/ruckelshaus-institute/forums/wind.


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