U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to visit Wyoming
On June 20, 2023, Secretary Granholm traveled to commemorate the historic groundbreaking of TransWest Express Transmission Project, a high-voltage interregional transmission line that will extend from south-central Wyoming through northwestern Colorado and central Utah, ending in southern Nevada. The Secretary was joined by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to spotlight new and ongoing efforts from the Biden-Harris administration to accelerate transmission buildout to lower consumers’ energy costs, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, create good-paying union jobs, and make progress towards achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.
Strengthening Wyoming’s Economy
In 2021, there were already 41,606 Wyoming workers employed in the energy sector. In Wyoming, 20% of the electric power generation workforce was in wind, solar, and hydroelectric, and over 6,500 workers were employed in energy efficiency.
The Inflation Reduction Act will expand these opportunities, bringing an estimated $22.6 billion of investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Wyoming between now and 2030.
Wyoming is home to 72,000 small businesses, representing 98.9% of all businesses in the state and employing 64% of all Wyoming workers, and the Inflation Reduction Act will help them save money. Commercial building owners can receive a tax credit up to $5 per square foot to support energy efficiency improvements that deliver lower utility bills. Other programs that will benefit small businesses include tax credits covering 30% of the costs of installing low-cost solar power and of purchasing clean trucks and vans for commercial fleets.
Clean Energy Investment
Currently, Wyoming has over 3.2 GW of solar, wind, and storage capacity, which places it in the top half of states in terms of renewable energy generation. There is almost 840 MW of additional planned wind capacity in the works, which will power more than 89,000 Wyoming homes.
IRA tax credits that encourage investment in wind and solar will help reduce energy costs, as the costs of solar and wind power are projected to drop by 32% and 22%, respectively, over the next 30 years in Carbon County.
Clean power projects provide over $20 million in drought-proof land lease payments to farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners each year in Wyoming.
Wyoming’s ideal geologic formations offer the potential to store up to a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from industrial and biomass facilities, as well as carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere via direct air capture. Facilities across the state, including in Carbon County, could potentially take advantage of the 45Q tax credit, which provides a credit for carbon captured at an industrial facility or through direct air capture projects.
Investing In Wyoming’s Communities
Thanks to funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy has made available more than $24 million in the past year to Wyoming’s state and local governments to invest in energy efficiency and grid resilience.
TerraPower has also received $80 million to build an innovative advanced nuclear reactor in Kemmerer, WY, at the site of the Naughton Power Plant where the remaining coal units are slated to retire in 2025. This project will bring an estimated 2,000 construction jobs and 250 long-term plant operations jobs to the local community.
The University of Wyoming was recently selected as part of DOE’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative to receive over $40 million to advance a commercial, multi-source, large-scale carbon capture and storage project. This project will capture and store at least 50 million metric tons of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the first 30 years of operation.
Saving Wyomingites Money on Home Energy Bills
DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program have invested more than $12 million in Wyoming since 2015, leading to 219 jobs and over 800 homes with reduced energy costs and improved health and safety.
Upgrading appliances and improving home energy efficiency could save a total of 400 GWh of energy in Wyoming, enough to power 14,000 households in the state.
Wyoming will receive over $69 million to implement a Home Energy Rebate program in the state. Low-income households in Carbon County could save an average of 40% on their home energy bills when they upgrade their appliances and improve energy efficiency through this program.
IRA also includes grants to help state and local governments adopt the latest building energy codes, which would save the average new homeowner in Wyoming 24.1% on their utility bills. That amounts to $651 per year.
Prioritizing Wyoming’s Rural and Underserved Communities
The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities has identified non-metropolitan areas in both eastern and western Wyoming as priority energy communities. This means that the federal government, including the DOE and 11 other partner agencies, are prioritizing this area for near-term investment and engagement to support community revitalization.
The Biden Administration has committed to advancing equity for all communities, including through the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure Federal agencies deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities. DOE has more than 140 programs covered by this initiative.
For current DOE funding opportunities, visit: energy.gov/infrastructure