Jan. 16, 2021
Wyoming's Energy Economy and Jobs Future - SF16 Net Metering
By Creative Energies
Rooftop solar is helping the U.S. to decarbonize our electric generation system. Lawmakers in Wyoming are again trying to set roadblocks with Senate File 0016. Please participate in the public dialogue about whether distributed solar generation should be a part of Wyoming's energy economy and jobs future.
The recently introduced legislation SF0016 - New net metering systems (SF16) will have negative effects on Wyoming’s solar future for citizens, the environment, and communities if it goes into law.
You’ve helped Wyoming’s solar future and stopped detrimental regulatory efforts in the past, and we can do it again!
Take Action Two Ways to Save Wyoming Solar
SF0016 bill will be heard in the Senate Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee Meeting this upcoming Tuesday (1/19) morning at 8:30 am and it is third on the agenda.
Note that public comment is limited to 1 hour, so even if you can’t testify, it will be beneficial to show public support with more people who sign up to testify than time allows to speak.
It is important that the Corporations Committee hear from you.
Note that the makeup of the Corporations Committee has changed. Some members are the same, but others are new. Please be respectful and include your full contact information. You can send one email to all committee members.
Senator Ogden Driskill (Co-Chair): Ogden.Driskill@wyoleg.gov
Senator Brian Boner: Brian.Boner@wyoleg.gov
Senator Cale Case: Cale.Case@wyoleg.gov
Senator Tara Nethercott: Tara.Nethercott@wyoleg.gov
Senator Charles Scott: Charles.Scott@wyoleg.gov
Representative Dan Zwonitzer (Co-Chair): Dan.Zwonitzer@wyoleg.gov
Representative Jim Blackburn: Jim.Blackburn@wyoleg.gov
Representative Aaron Clausen: Aaron.Clausen@wyoleg.gov
Representative Andi Clifford: Andrea.Clifford@wyoleg.gov
Representative Shelly Duncan: Shelly.Duncan@wyoleg.gov
Representative Danny Eyre: Danny.Eyre@wyoleg.gov
Representative Hans Hunt: Hans.Hunt@wyoleg.gov
Representative Joe McGuire: Joe.MacGuire@wyoleg.gov
Representative Jim Roscoe: Jim.Roscoe@wyoleg.gov
Conservation Partner Resources
Talking Points from Wyoming Solar Energy Association (WYSE), Powder River Basin Resource Council (PRBRC), and Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC)
-Net metering is important.
-This bill was rushed.
-Studies on the costs and benefits of net metering to non-net metered customers in Wyoming need to take place before legislation is drafted and considered.
- Net metering provides value to the Wyoming economy that goes beyond the fixed costs of the utility. Legislative policy should encourage customer savings. The largest solar owners are local governments, businesses, and nonprofits.
- Rooftop solar produces sales tax income for the counties in which the projects happen and for the state. Property valuation increases when solar is added to a home, ranch, or business. That increases long-term property tax income.
-Wyoming should focus on supporting one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, not disabling it. We need to diversify our economy, and the solar industry is a key piece to our energy future.
-Wyoming ranks 43rd in the country for solar jobs per capita, yet has the eighth-best solar resource in the nation. We need to diversify our economy and support innovation in the private sector to close this gap. We also need policies that help grow jobs and keep Wyoming as a viable place to make a living.
-The solar industry provides jobs and employment opportunities to people in Wyoming, including people losing their jobs in Wyoming’s struggling mineral industries.
-The current law provides a level regulatory system across the state and across utilities. SF16 creates regulatory uncertainty for solar owners, solar businesses, solar installers, and people who are considering buying solar.
-The cost-shifting argument unfairly targets Wyoming’s small-scale solar customers. Cost shifting is not unique to rooftop solar. The legislature needs to formally study cost-shifting before making these changes to the statute. Importantly, the uncertainty created by this bill will encourage solar customers to go off-grid, resulting in a much more problematic cost shift for utility customers.
-Wyomingites deserve a fair deal for the energy they produce on systems that they paid for, own, and maintain. Rooftop solar has health, social, and environmental benefits that far outpace other forms of energy production. A fair rate-making process must consider the numerous benefits of net metering, and not just treat it like a cost or “subsidy.”
-Stand for the people — not the investor-owned utilities. Monopoly utility companies have been the only public supporters of the anti-net metering agenda. Meanwhile, hundreds of Wyoming citizens — teachers, students, ranchers, small businesses, and local government officials have gone on record opposing changes to our net-metering statute. Legislators need to listen to their constituents.
-Unfairly targeting net-metered consumers limits energy choice for Wyomingites. Net metering is an important tool that gives Wyomingites the ability to choose how they get power. This policy ensures that small-scale energy systems are accessible to a range of Wyoming homes and businesses and allows local governments to save taxpayer dollars.
-If it’s not broken, stop trying to fix it. People who have invested in these systems are frustrated at repeated attempts by their government to curtail private investment despite the lack of evidence that net metering is causing any harm to other utility customers.
-Wyoming can grow the rooftop solar industry without harming other utility customers. Net metering is responsible for less than six one-hundredths of one percent (0.06%) of all retail electric sales in Wyoming. This is roughly the same capacity as 2-3 average-sized wind turbines currently being installed by utilities like Rocky Mountain Power. Net-metered facilities are not having a noticeable impact on the rates of other power customers