The Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) has entered into an agreement with the Energy Policy Network (EPN) to provide economic services related to Wyoming’s coal markets.
EPN reviews models and assumptions being presented to midwest Public Service Commissions concerning the early closure of coal-fired units using Powder River Basin Coal. These Commissions are analyzing if it’s in the best economic interest for ratepayers if coal-fired power plants should close early. EPN provides comments and independent analysis throughout the process as decisions are being made.
Governor Mark Gordon commented on the contract: “In a time when the loud voices of a few are attempting to downplay the economic benefits of the continued use of Wyoming’s low-sulphur coal in existing power plants, it is vital we enlist the assistance of EPN. The rolling blackouts that have recently occurred in some states illustrate the need for a reliable source of 24-hour power. Wyoming coal helps provide that stability.”
“One of the strategic goals of the Wyoming Energy Authority is to preserve existing markets while identifying and pursuing new areas for market development,” said WEA Executive Director Dr. Glen Murrell. “Partnerships allow us to prudently use our resources while maximizing our reach, and working with EPN allows us to ensure Wyoming coal and the markets it serves are being given a fair analysis.”
To date, EPN’s efforts have preserved about $38.5 million in tax revenue to the State of Wyoming, per year based on an average $12 per ton sale price. Prior to this agreement, Wyoming has spent $1.3 million on these efforts over 5 years, producing a significant return on investment.
In the 2020 session, the Wyoming State Legislature passed HB 004 – Wyoming Coal Marketing Program. The bill provided $1 million in funding to the Governor’s Office for the purpose of protecting and expanding Wyoming’s coal markets and coal facilities; and to address impacts cities, towns and counties have or will experience due to changes in the coal market. A portion of those funds were used for this agreement.