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Power Earth Government Republicans United States Politics

New Wyoming Bill Penalizes Utilities Using Renewable Energy (csmonitor.com) 502

An anonymous reader quotes a Christian Science Monitor report on "a bill that would essentially ban large-scale renewable energy" in Wyoming. The new Wyoming bill would forbid utilities from using solar or wind sources for their electricity by 2019, according to Inside Climate News... The bill would require utilities to use "eligible resources" to meet 95 percent of Wyoming's electricity needs in 2018, and all of its electricity needs in 2019. Those "eligible resources" are defined solely as coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, oil, and individual net metering... Utility-scale wind and solar farms are not included in the bill's list of "eligible resources," making it illegal for Wyoming utilities to use them in any way if the legislation passes. The bill calls for a fine of $10 per megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable source to be slapped on Wyoming utilities that provide power from unapproved sources to in-state customers.
The bill also prohibits utilities from raising rates to cover the cost of those penalties, though utilities wouldn't be penalized if they exported that energy to other states. But one local activist described it as 'talking-point' legislation, and even the bill's sponsor gives it only a 50% chance of passing.
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New Wyoming Bill Penalizes Utilities Using Renewable Energy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:39PM (#53713045)

    Wind murders countless migratory birds every year, and the environmental impact of Chinese solar panels is similarly out of this world. There are no environmental regulations in China.

    This is a good move by WY to help save the environment.

    • by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:52PM (#53713093)
      It's not "Countless". Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually - a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats. So if it's really migratory birds you're so worried about, you'd better ditch your cellphone. And/or kill your cat.
      • Don't forget birds also have issues with office buildings.
        • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:18PM (#53713187)
          So, the take-away is that birds are mostly blind?
          I've had them miss my car by an inch and I think what saved them was the slipstream created by the car.
          Maybe they're just distracted... check their bodies for tiny smart phones...
          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:26PM (#53713207)

            So, the take-away is that birds are mostly blind?

            No. The take-away is that birds evolved before there were large obstacles moving at 70 mph, and large transparent areas on cliff faces. They rarely run into parked cars, or windowless buildings.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2017 @10:09PM (#53713335)
              Don't worry, evolution is fixing this issue right now.
            • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@@@earthlink...net> on Saturday January 21, 2017 @10:23PM (#53713407)

              No, birds just run into things. I remember a study where someone tried to figure out why birds ran into windows so often. They found out that birds just run into things, like trees. I grew up on a farm where the birds liked to run into the farmhouse quite often. We'd hear them thump against the wall. Living in the suburbs now I still hear them thump, just not as often. This has probably less to do with where I live and more to do with the thicker walls on my current house compared to the house I grew up in.

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
              Actually, they regularly run into things like parked cars and windowless buildings. Did you have data to back up your claim, or were you just lying and hoping nobody would contradict you? The reason they hit the windows in houses, not the house, is that they hit the house, and you don't notice, but when they hit the window, you notice.
              • Actually, they regularly run into things like parked cars and windowless buildings. Did you have data to back up your claim, or were you just lying and hoping nobody would contradict you? The reason they hit the windows in houses, not the house, is that they hit the house, and you don't notice, but when they hit the window, you notice.

                The reason they hit windows is because of the reflection and the transparency. A window sometimes works like a mirror and many times will reflect a second tree that they are trying to get to. They don't just randomly run into things they can see. Zoos have a solution for this. Instead of using glass which is both reflective and see thru, they use little very thin vertical wire which would probably be worse for the birds if the birds ran into it but the birds don't because they see it just fine.

      • Also, the newer, larger turbines kill far fewer birds.
        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:35PM (#53713235)

          Also, the newer, larger turbines kill far fewer birds.

          The big reason for this is that they are higher off the ground, where winds are stronger and more reliable. Most local birds fly low, and most migrating birds fly even higher than than the big turbines.

          The "bird" objection to wind turbines has always been stupid and disingenuous (the people making it don't really give a crap about the birds), but it has become even stupider as turbines improve.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        It's not "Countless". Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually - a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats. So if it's really migratory birds you're so worried about, you'd better ditch your cellphone. And/or kill your cat.

        THat FIgur Iz a lIE! FRom tHE CeLLPhonE CompANieS. SiGNed: thE CaTT!!!!

    • Dumbest
      Comment
      Ever

    • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @10:52PM (#53713477)

      This is about the Bakken oil fields that run through Wyoming.

      The US has a fossil fuel glut and renewable energy is not going to help that.

      I helped litigate Big Tobacco and fossil fuel is the back story here.

      They stab it with their steely knives
      But they just can't kill the beast

      • Once solar power is cheaper than coal it won't matter, the utilities will pay to have the law changed just like the oil companies did.
    • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:11AM (#53713711)

      Gas turbine power plants are not exactly friendly to birds. I've walked across parking lots in the morning that looked like the dumpster at the rotisserie chicken place had been knocked over.

      sPh

      (insects are drawn to the warmth radiating from the exhaust stack wall. Birds dive after the insects, and if they dive through the exhaust, toasted bird)

      • Well, that's pretty unusual for a utility scale gas turbine plant, since it's a massive waste of energy and therefore money to dump out air hot enough to toast a bird. The plants tend to be built as combined cycle, with a gas turbine at the top (high peak temperature, medium rejection temperature) and a Rankine cycle (medium peak temperature, low rejection temperature) at the bottom of the theremodynamic cycle.

        That gives you a much larger temperature differential than it's practical to achieve with either c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:39PM (#53713049)
    They just are trying to protect their coal industry so that it doesn't wind up the West Virginia of the western US.
    • They just are trying to protect their coal industry so that it doesn't wind up the West Virginia of the western US.

      That is short sighted. Wyoming has a lot of wind resources, and they could build UHVDC lines to export the power. Oklahoma and Texas are doing well with wind.

      • 11% of electricity produced in WY does come from wind. Around 2/3 of generated electricity is already exported according to google searches. The biggest objection to wind farms is disruption of scenic views. The biggest problem with export is again building infrastructure to export the electricity and again scenic views.

        People probably wouldn't object as much to the wind farms if the power was needed by the state's residents. When there is a large oversupply, it's a fair argument to not reduce our quality

  • Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by barrywalker ( 1855110 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:39PM (#53713051)
    The retards have really taken over, alright.

    If we don't burn ourselves up, we're headed for a really nice repeat of the dark ages.
    • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:51PM (#53713089)

      But I thought Republitards were all about government getting out of regulating businesses? Magic of the free market and all?

      Oh, they are just hypocritical? I guess whatever makes America great again.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Jan 21, 2019 headline: Democrat super-majority in US House and Senate pass historic legislation requiring states to generate 50% of their power from renewable energy sources to qualify for any federal aid.

      Jan 21, 2021 headline: President Sanders signs historic Constitutional Amendment requiring states to generate 75% of their power from renewable energy sources to qualify for any federal aid.

      Checkmate, Wyoming.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        Jan 21, 2021 headline: President Elizabeth Warren signs historic Constitutional Amendment requiring states to generate 75% of their power from renewable energy sources to qualify for any federal aid.

        FTFY - With Hillary swept to the dustbin of history, Elizabeth Warren has a better shot at POTUS in 2020.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Michelle Obama has a better chance of winning than Trump's reelection.
          • by creimer ( 824291 )

            Michelle Obama has a better chance of winning than Trump's reelection.

            I think Michelle should follow Hillary's example by going home, getting elected to Congress, build up her political credentials as a senator or representative, and then run for president. We just had eight years of Obama. Although four years of Trump could make Michelle a shoo-in for 2020.

    • Re:Huh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:50PM (#53713289)

      Not sure how this would be legal. You can't dictate that a company can't sell a legal product. So how would a wind only operate? Sounds like Republicans for Excessive and Unnecessary Regulation. Doncha love a party that sticks to its ideals instead of pandering to big business interests?

      • You can't dictate that a company can't sell a legal product.

        Yes you can. It turns out that legislators can pretty much do whatever the hell they want. They could ban peanut butter tomorrow if they felt like it. They could even pass laws that violate the constitution and police can happily enforce those laws until a judge explicitly tells them to cut it out, with no punishment whatsoever.

        This is one of the many, many reasons why the world's democracies often seem dysfunctional. And it's part of the reason why the emergency $700 billion bailout in 2008 included a

      • It's often called Communism when the government micro-manages the economy to achieve specific results. Note that most Americans wouldn't recognize Communism if it grabbed their wallet and gave it to poor people.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      If the bill had a snowball's chance in hell of passing I'd agree with you. The fact that the mental midget that proposed it thinks it only has a 50 percent chance of passing means it's already dead.

  • Interstate commerce? (Score:5, Informative)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:40PM (#53713055) Journal

    Surely, there is interstate commerce going on here, which would take the issue out of the hands of local politicians?

    Also, it's anti-employment, anti-business. Renewable energy employs more people than coal. The only people to benefit are a small number of miners and a tiny special interest group (coal mine owners).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The state government is funded by mineral extraction taxes. There are no taxes on wind & sun. Understand that and you understand why the mindset out here is "Obama to Wyoming, Drop Dead." (Direct quote from a WY resident last year on NPR)

      The wind farms will still be built, CO will happily buy every last watt.

      • In other words, this insane bill is more of a hardball negotiation tactic to increase taxes on wind and solar installations... or else.

        Put in that light, it almost makes sense.

  • Ah, yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:52PM (#53713095) Journal
    If this bill's author has had the temerity to claim to be in favor of 'freedom' or 'free markets'; and then pushes this nonsense, somebody needs to feed him to a wood chipper.
  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @08:56PM (#53713109)

    Now if we could just get Wyoming to also pass a bill to put up a wall around the state, then send the bill Colorado. Then they could put a dome on the wall and send the bill for that to Utah.

    No walls, no gates, no windows. Must contain the tard.

    • Didn't George Carlin propose something like this? There were gates though, so that all the degenerates could be tossed in from the rest of the country, creating an free range prison. Had to choose a rectangular state, to save on fencing costs of course.

  • and even the bill's sponsor gives it only a 50% chance of passing

    ... and a 100% chance of being a completely retarded idea!

  • So how does this work? Is a domestic consumer is given an electron which has passed through a wind generator, there is going to be hell to pay, but a different pool of electrons must be used to export power from the state.

    And sure, with a mix of energy sources, local consumption can be less than generation from coal.

    • So how does this work? Is a domestic consumer is given an electron which has passed through a wind generator, there is going to be hell to pay, but a different pool of electrons must be used to export power from the state.

      And sure, with a mix of energy sources, local consumption can be less than generation from coal.

      True, electrons are not fungible in the sense that money is – at least according to quantum mechanics. But in this application, the energy transmitted by the AC current of electrons in the power lines makes the point moot.

      And anyways, selling energy to another state at location B, but that was generated at location A, is not technologically feasible. And so, we are back to treating things in the aggregate if this bill passes. It won't.

  • It's a tax (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 )
    Or more accurately, a backlash against subsidies - $10 per megawatt hour.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or more accurately, a backlash against subsidies - $10 per megawatt hour.

      If that were the case, they'd be fining utilities for the costs of their pollution-generating injury-causing facilities that we are subsidizing by treating in hospitals instead.

      They'd also apply a dollar charge for every barrel of oil that requires the Wyoming Navy to defend. Aircraft carriers don't come cheap.

    • Re:It's a tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:20PM (#53713195)

      Or more accurately, a backlash against subsidies - $10 per megawatt hour.

      It's a middle finger to progressives.

      This is the problem with the political right at the moment. They're not trying to correct the market or protect local jobs, they're trying to rile up their base by pissing off people concerned about global warming.

    • Or more accurately, a backlash against subsidies - $10 per megawatt hour.

      Or perhaps, a subsidy for coal, oil, gas, nuke, and geothermal energy at the cost of solar and wind energy.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:04PM (#53713143)

    as long as the CO2 from Wyoming is contained within Wyoming. They can build a dome and then suffocate if they like.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Are you planning a military invasion of Wyoming? If not, why should anyone in Wyoming care about your preferences?

      • why should anyone in Wyoming care about your preferences?

        Why don't you ask North Carolina why they suddenly started caring? ;)

      • by meglon ( 1001833 )
        Maybe if we take away all their benefits of being part of the US, they'll start giving a shit and living up to some of their responsibilities. I know, it's a concept conservatives can't understand... that with rights and benefits come responsibilities... but too fucking bad. Maybe it's time for the conservative little bitches to grow up.
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@po[ ]c.com ['eti' in gap]> on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:09PM (#53713159)

    Wyoming is 'America's Smokestack' - a proud title to compete with India and Northern China for honors. Sure, tourism might take a hit, but the coal dollars will continue to roll in. Another slogan they like- Coal=Jobs; well how many jobs? You've seen those huge machines digging, transporting, processing the coal ... how many humans are actually working there? In almost every case, the employers bragging about jobs or potential jobs are lying and thinking about profits and potential profits for themselves.

    • Even the stupidest lawmaker has to know we can't go back to the fifties. Coal is not going to be a big job maker ever again. Even if coal use goes up it does not mean we are going to get lots of jobs again. This is anti-conservative. The biggest conservationists I know are western conservatives who like unspoiled nature. Instead this is all about coal companies buying politicians.

  • Tables are turning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:35PM (#53713241) Homepage

    It seems like paid shills are posting under every renewable energy article about renewables not being viable without government subsidies. Well here you go. It seems that coal is now the one in need of government hand outs.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @09:51PM (#53713297) Homepage Journal

    Many decades ago, Groucho Marx posed the question "Why not Oming?". Finally we have an answer.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @10:25PM (#53713409)

    The currently profitable companies buy a legislature to outlaw competition.

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@@@earthlink...net> on Saturday January 21, 2017 @10:42PM (#53713451)

    I'm not a fan of solar power. It's expensive, unreliable, and lacking any kind of storage or backup power it is pretty much useless. If given enough cheap storage then any energy source looks good. Which is one thing that boggles me about those that say, "Just you wait, when we get good batteries any day now then you'll love solar power." If we had this magical battery technology then why would we bother using solar power to charge it? Wind, nuclear, and even natural gas would be better choices. They are cheaper than solar, and with a battery for load balancing they'd meet every need for power without expensive and dirty peak power plants.

    I'm okay with wind. It's generally cheap when put in the right places. The problem is that with government subsidies they are not put in the right places. The subsidies are made to subsidize capacity, not necessarily output. So what happens is that windmills are put close to natural gas lines, so that the backup generators have fuel and they don't have to run a power line that isn't carrying power.

    Nuclear is good. It's the safest energy source we know of, based on deaths and injuries per MWh produced. It's got the lowest carbon output, if one believes that is even a problem. It's cheap, reliable, and domestically sourced. Any law that makes building nuclear power sounds good to me.

    A big problem for me though is that this messes with the free market. People should be able to choose where their energy comes from on their own. That means that not only is this bill a bad idea but so is those laws that made this bill necessary in the first place. Had they taken a gentler hand on this, by merely cancelling out the federal subsidies on these energy sources, then I could probably support it. They took it a bit far with these punitive taxes. But then this makes nuclear power look good.

    I'm torn on this one.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday January 21, 2017 @11:33PM (#53713603)
      Good point - the free market is biased between the quick solutions whether they are better in the long run or not, plus it tends to concentrate in places where profit is highest. Without government involvement we wouldn't have nukes and just about every farm and small town would still be dark just as it was more than fifty years after Edison lit up a profitable part of New York.
  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @12:13AM (#53713721)

    The Wyoming State Legislature will soon make the acquaintance of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And after that, possibly the Justice Dept. Essentially all bulk energy transfers fall under federal, not state, jurisdiction.

    sPh

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Sunday January 22, 2017 @10:26AM (#53715057)
    They fight you.

    We all know what the next step is. If renewable energy is not a threat to coal powered energy, it would just die out, and we would be using coal.

    But if you have to go out of your way to punish the users, you are just admitting that competing with them is not winning.

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