We live in a world full of greedy corporations, where everything is a money making scheme. But the one thing I never thought would be taken for granted is now being taken advantage of, and I am completely shocked.
Shortly after they realized the potential for wind energy creation in Wyoming, renewable energy companies began constructing turbines on private property and then selling the clean power they generated to the residents. However, shortly after their venture Began, Wyoming officials moved in for the kill.
The state legislature asked the question, “Who owns the wind?” It did not take much for them to come up with the conclusion that the state does.
Because they claim to own the wind, the state decided to tax it. So, for the last few years, Wyoming has been taxing the power generated by wind turbines at $1 per megawatt.
This is not just your regular taxes folks, no, this is an entirely new tax based solely on the assertion by Wyoming that they own a NATURAL resource.
“The Wind is different than anything else. It’s not like a mineral, which is something that sits there in the ground until you go after it,” says Bob Whitton, chairman of the Renewable Energy Association of Landowners (REAL). “It’s not like water that can be put in a lake or pond. The wind blows in and blows out and you can’t put it in a pond, pipeline, truck or train and send it somewhere.”
“The question is if wind rights should be severable from surface ownership,” says UW Law Professor Dennis Stickley, who has worked on the issue along with a group of graduate students that gave their findings at the recent Wind Energy Task Force meeting in Casper, as reported by WYLR.
“As a general principle, all rights in property are assignable and transferrable and alienable, and you can transfer title,” says Stickley. “Moreover, anecdotally there are situations already where landowners have severed wind rights.”
Thanks to Wyoming officials these rights no longer apply. This is not a move in the best interest of the people, nor is it even in the interest of raising funds for the government. In the four years that the law has been in effect, the state has only raised $15 million from taxing the wind.
This move is based solely on the need to stifle any new business that threatens the fossil fuel industry’s grip on energy production.
“Just about every legislator we’ve met with asks us, ‘You tell us how much we can tax you before we put you out of business,’,” said Bill Miller, chief executive of the Power Co. of Wyoming, which is planning the wind farm. “I just shake my head and say, ‘Zero.’”
He said the state was at risk of “taxing the project out of existence.”
As stated above the current tax is set at $1 per megawatt, but other bills could require setting this amount as high as $12 per megawatt hour.