Energy policy in Wyoming

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Energy policy in {{{State}}}
Quick facts
Energy department: Wyoming State Energy Office
State population: 0.6 million
Per capita income: $48,670
Energy consumption
Total energy consumption: 553 trillion BTU[1][2]
Per capita energy consumption: 975 million BTU
Energy spending
Total state energy spending: $5,406 million
Per capita energy spending: $9,529
Residential natural gas price: $8.40 per thousand cubic foot
Residential electricity price: 10.24 cents per kWh
See also
Energy on the ballot
Statewide fracking on the ballot
Local fracking on the ballot
Policypedia Energy logo.jpg
Energy Policy Project
Energy policy in the United States
Energy use in the United States
Glossary of energy terms
[[Energy policy in {{{State}}}]]
[[Fracking in {{{State}}}]]

Energy policy in Wyoming depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in Wyoming focuses on energy production and export revenues, mainly from coal. As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves tradeoffs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about Wyoming's energy climate.


  • is a net electricity exporter.
  • has fossil fuels in the form of crude oil, natural gas and coal.
  • has renewable energy in the form of hydroelectric energy and wind energy.
  • supplies more energy to the nation than any other state.
  • produces nine percent of U.S. natural gas production in 2011.
  • has the eighth largest coal mines in the U.S.
  • had the second lowest average electricity price of any State in 2011.[3]

In Wyoming

Available energy resources

Wyoming has traditional energy resources in the form of oil, coal and natural gas. The state accounts for about three percent of the United State's crude oil, nine percent of the natural gas and about one-fifth of coal. Most natural gas produced in Wyoming is shipped to both the Midwest and West Coast through interstate pipelines.

Wyoming has renewable energy resources in the form of wind and hydroelectric energy. Wyoming has among the best wind resources in the nation, especially in the southeast quadrant of the state. Wind installations have increased rapidly in recent years. Many large projects are in development including what might be the largest wind project in the nation at Chokecherry-Sierra Madre. Most of the state's hydropower plants are small and federally owned.[3]

Consumption and prices

As shown on the pie chart in 2011 an overwhelming 58 percent of energy consumed in Wyoming is in the industrial sector. Transportation accounted for one fifth of the energy; the rest was used mostly in residential and commercial buildings--for heating, cooling, lighting and other functions. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of coal, followed by natural gas and oil. Gasoline, used in transportation, accounts for three fifths of the petroleum consumed in the state. In-state total petroleum consumption is small, and refineries deliver much of their output to neighboring states.[3] Generally the price of gasoline in the state are considerably lower than the national average.[4][5] According to the EIA's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, Massachusetts collects a total tax of 14 cents on every gallon of gasoline, gasohol diesel fuel, which ranks it at the 49th highest in the United States.[6][7]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares Wyoming's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for natural gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of South Dakota, which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • Wyoming's rank of 33rd in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions are higher in Wyoming than in South Dakota, which has a ranking of 47th.
  • Per capita income in both South Dakota and Wyoming are higher than the national average, yet Wyoming still ranks higher at eighth than South Dakota at 19th.
  • These two states are very similarly ranked in the top 10 on per capita spending and per capita consumption.
  • Both states are similarly ranked in the bottom third for the price of natural gas.
  • Because of the small size of each respective state, both South Dakota and Wyoming rank in the bottom ten for total energy consumption.
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type WyomingSouth DakotaU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population0.6 million510.8 million46313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$48,6708$43,65919$42,693
Total Consumption553 trillion BTU40382 trillion BTU4597,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption975 million BTU1464 million BTU8312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$5,406 million46$4,547 million47$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$9,5293$5,5219$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$8.4037$8.2939$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh10.243710.063912.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)64.93315.1475,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.
See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in Wyoming
Source Wyoming 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 58.7% 49.5%
Fuel oil 0.5% 6.5%
Electricity 23.0% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 10.3% 5%
Other/none 7.5% 3.6%

Production and transmission

Wyoming produced 10,353.4 trillion BTU of energy in 2011. Of that nearly three-fourths came from coal and just under a quarter came from natural gas. The rest accounted for less than one-half of one percent and came from crude oil, biofuels and what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other' renewable energies.[8]

Energy production by type in Wyoming, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Crude oil 317.3 3.06% 2.65%
Natural gas 2,384.4 23.03% 9%
Coal 7,591.7 73.33% 34.42%
Biofuels 1.4 0.01% 0.07%
Other 58.6 0.57% 0.82%

Six out of every seven kWh of net electricity generation in Wyoming comes from coal-fired power plants. Wind energy accounts for one-tenth of net electricity generation, and has rapidly grown in recent history. Small hydropower facilities also contribute. Natural gas and petroleum generate only minor amounts of electricity, although some new natural gas-fired capacity is being built to replace aging coal units. Most power from natural gas and petroleum is generated and consumed at industrial facilities.[3]

Because Wyoming's population is the lowest in the nation, it uses a small amount of coal, despite having the highest per capita spending on energy. Because of the mass production and relatively small consumption, Wyoming exports energy and six major interstate projects are under way to transmit more power out of Wyoming to western population centers.[3]

Where electricity comes from in Wyoming[9]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 3 0.07% 0%
Natural gas-fired 42 0.93% 0%
Coal-fired 3,954 87.59% 0%
Nuclear 0 0% 0%
Hydroelectric 30 0.66% 0%
Other renewables 460 10.19% 0%
Total net electricity generation 4,514 100% 0%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

In Wyoming there are currently 17 municipal electric utilities and 4 private electric utilities. For natural gas there are eleven natural gas utilities.[10] Nearly two-thirds of the electricity produced in Wyoming is exported to nearby states.[3]

Energy policy

Policy Issues
Wyoming is one of 19 states without a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), meaning they have no strict plan to increase renewable energy resources. This means that there is no incentive for the state to invest in renewable energy.
See also: Fracking in Wyoming

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. According to the "2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard" published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Wyoming ranks 50th in energy efficiency with a score of 5.5 out of 50. North Dakota is the only state that ranked lower than Wyoming.[11]

Wyoming is one of 19 states without a RPS, meaning they have no strict plan or requirement to increase renewable energy resources.[12] There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."[13][14] Wyoming focuses much time developing their natural gas industry as it represents about ten percent of the nation's total. Wyoming also focuses on the revenues the state receives from their petroleum as they produce three percent of the nations total. These are large numbers considering the state's population only accounts for a fraction of the percentage of the United States.[3]

Major legislation

  • Wyo. Stat. 37-16-101, (2001) instituted a net-metering law that requires systems with capacity of up to 25 kilowatts generating electricity using solar, wind, hydropower, or biomass to implement basic interconnection. Separate interconnection rules have not been established by the Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC). At their own expense, customers must install an external disconnect switch.[15]
  • In Docket No. 20000-264-EA-06, (2008) the Wyoming Public Service Commission "approved six demand-side-management programs for Rocky Mountain Power (RMP)." They began January first, 2009 and are the state's first significant energy efficiency effort.[16]
  • Wyo. Stat. 18-5-500, (2010) required that permits must obtained for all wind facilities larger than 0.5 megawatts (MW) that begin construction after July 1, 2010. The permits must be obtained by the county where the facility is located. Any enlargements must also obtain permits.[17]
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State energy policy

State fracking policy

Energy policy terms

Fracking in the U.S.

Energy use in the U.S.

Energy policy in the U.S.

State environmental policy

See also
Local fracking on the ballot

Statewide fracking on the ballot

Government agencies and committees

  • The Wyoming Public Service Commission regulates four investor-owned electric utilities that operate in Wyoming. The commission also has authority to regulate rural retail electric cooperatives in Wyoming.[18]
  • The Wyoming Legislature Energy Council consists of six state senators and six state representatives. It is responsible for state legislation regarding production and regulation of energy production and consumption.[19]
  • Leading the Charge is a plan of action by the Wyoming state government in the form of a newsletter. The most recent publication was published in 2013. Its goal is to continue Wyoming's high levels of energy production, but to do so in a more energy efficient manner. It reveals a desire for the state of Wyoming to continue to be a major energy producer while maintaining both effectiveness and efficiency. It also seeks to develop new innovations and technologies in energy production while helping preserve the state's environment.[20]

Major organizations

  • The Wyoming Energy Council, Inc. provides energy assessment, weatherization, conservation awareness and education services to low-income families, the disabled, seniors and homes with small children.[21]
  • The Wyoming Business Council's State Energy Office (SEO) promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy in Wyoming. They are a formal partner with the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service to encourage, research and implement energy efficiency. The organization's mission is "to support viable energy efficiency efforts and energy resource development that contribute to Wyoming's long-term economic sustainability and the nation's energy independence."[22]

In the news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Wyoming+Energy+Policy"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Wyoming Energy News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Wyoming Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013.
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Wyoming Overview," accessed February 26, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Wyoming Overview," accessed February 26, 2014
  4. "Gas Buddy", "Historical Gas Charts," accessed February 26, 2014
  5. [To compare current gasoline prices in Colorado to the U.S averages, go to]
  6. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014, accessed February 14, 2014
  7. [The ranking comes from the Tax Foundation website accessed February 14, 2014]
  8. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "State Energy Data System, Production," accessed February 25, 2014
  9. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Wyoming Overview," accessed February 26, 2014
  10. Energy Wise Wyoming, "Utilities," accessed February 26, 2014
  11. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard," accessed February 27, 2014
  12. The Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Energy Mandates in the States," accessed February 27, 2014
  13. International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
  14. Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
  15. Database for State Renewable Energy, "Interconnection Guidelines," accessed February 27, 2014
  16. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "Wyoming Utility Policies," accessed February 27, 2014
  17. Database for State Renewable Energy, "Wind Energy Permitting Standard," accessed February 27 2014
  18. Wyoming Public Service Commission, "Energy Industry," accessed February 27, 2014
  19. State of Wyoming Legislature, "Energy Committee," accessed February 27, 2014
  20. Leading the Change, "Wyoming's Action Plan for Energy, Environment and Economy," accessed February 27, 2014
  21. Wyoming Energy Council, Inc., "About Us," accessed February 27, 2014
  22. National Association of State Energy Officials, "Wyoming Profile," accessed February 27, 2014