Wyoming sees big increase in wind-power generating capacity

October 1, 2022 GMT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming doubled its wind-power generating capacity from 2019 to 2021 and is looking to add more wind farms in the next five years.

The Casper Star Tribune reports in a story on Friday that researchers at the University of Wyoming say that boost in power generation is like adding another coal-fired power plant.

The increase has pushed Wyoming’s wind-power generating capacity from about 1,600 to about 3,200 megawatts and from 17th to 14th in the nation in wind-power capacity.

Enough future wind farms have been proposed to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council to nearly triple the state’s wind-power capacity.

The University of Wyoming report released in June sought to measure the economic impacts of wind projects in the state.

It found that building another 6,000 megawatts of wind capacity would support close to 1,600 long-term jobs. It would also inject $1.2 billion into the state economy during construction and add another estimated $210 million annually. Researchers said that includes $89 million in government revenue.

Additionally, if the turbines were built in Wyoming, the revenue produced in the state could be even more.

Christelle Khalaf, faculty fellow at the University of Wyoming Center for Business and Economic Analysis, and an administrator at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was one of the authors of the report.

“I think it looks good for the next five years,” Khalaf said. “I think that we are going to reach these aggressive scenarios, which is going to translate into these robust economic impacts for the state. I’m less sure about what’s ahead beyond those five years.”

According to U.S. Geological Survey data, the number of wind turbines nationwide more than doubled over the past decade to almost 72,000.