Gordon Signs Bill Allowing Power Companies To Charge For Carbon Capture Retrofits

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill Friday that will allow utilities to charge customers for the costs to make carbon capture retrofits to power plants. The bill had encountered resistance from the Freedom Caucus, which is opposed to the concept of carbon capture.

Pat Maio

March 15, 20243 min read

The Jim Bridger plant in southwest Wyoming.
The Jim Bridger plant in southwest Wyoming. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A bill allowing utilities that own Wyoming coal plants to charge customers for carbon capture retrofits was signed into law Friday by Gov. Mark Gordon.

Industry proponents of the new law said the legislation is a win-win for Wyoming’s energy industry.

The law permits public utilities with coal-burning power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions rather than closing them down as other alternative power generating sources quickly come online, such as wind, solar, hydropower or even small nuclear plants.

The bill, approved by the Wyoming Legislature a week ago, makes significant changes to allow utilities to delay the installation of coal-fired power plant carbon-capture retrofits until 2033, three years beyond a previous deadline imposed by state law four years ago.

The legislation, which went down to an end-of-session deadline to come up with a state budget, also allows utilities to recoup the cost of retrofits from customers.

“Commercially viable carbon capture technology for emissions on power generating and industrial facilities is important not only for our coal industry, but also our industrial mineral producers that are responding to their customer demands,” said Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association.

“The legislation is important for keeping those efforts moving forward.” he told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

What Else It Does

The bill had encountered resistance from the Freedom Caucus, which is opposed to the concept of carbon capture.

The Senate passed the conference report on Senate File 42 by a vote of 18-12, followed by a House vote of 36-17, with nine lawmakers who were excused from the final vote.

The legislation will now allow rate recovery from electricity customers as well as permit a utility to recoup federal tax credits provided it installs lower carbon-emission technology on its coal plants.

Specifically, the legislation permits a public utility to establish a rate recovery mechanism that collects a surcharge from customers not to exceed 2% of each customer’s total electric bill.

The legislation makes it possible for utilities to recover the costs they spend on carbon capture technology through the Wyoming Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities.

The proposal exempts electric utilities with fewer than 10,000 customers, which is designed to help those smaller businesses that can’t immediately pay for carbon capture systems.

The proposal also changes to 75% the minimum standard of capturing greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere from the current 90% level.

The new law also syncs up with federal tax laws to give power companies the ability to recoup some of the costs on investments through expiring tax credits associated with the new carbon capture technologies.

Pat Maio can be reached at pat@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.