The State Energy Emergency Response Plan (SEERP) for the state of Wyoming contains recommendations on energy emergency best practices and provides information as to which agencies are best equipped to handle specific types of emergencies. The plan relies on a mixed strategy to respond to varying degrees of an energy shortage or emergency. The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security (WOHS) is the primary agency responsible for the implementation of Emergency Support Function 12 in the event of an energy emergency.
In 2013, Governor Matt Mead launched “Leading the Charge,” a comprehensive strategic plan for Wyoming's energy, environment and economy. The strategy identifies several initiatives to promote economic growth and environmental quality. The State Energy Office provides support to implement various initiatives.
The State Energy Program’s strategic goal is to “reduce the impacts of energy production and use on the environment.” To support this goal, the Wyoming Business Council, State Energy Office, requests permission to repurpose payments of funds from the ARRA Residential Revolving program to support “Leading the Charge: Wyoming’s Action Plan for Energy, Environment and Economy.”
The 2016 Energy Strategy positions Wyoming to lead the nation in effective, innovative policies that balance energy, the environment and the economy. The 2016 Wyoming Strategy contains 12 new initiatives including infrastructure investments, renewable energy manufacturing, biomass utilization, state primacy, reclamation bonds, endangered species, public land and access, collaborative state management of invasive species on federal lands, career readiness, carbon innovation, local energy and energy education.
Continuation of 2013 Energy Strategy Initiatives. The 2013 Wyoming Energy Strategy contained 45 initiatives — 28 of which are complete, meaning in most cases, a foundation is laid for ongoing work.
Marketing Opportunities. Wyoming will study domestic and international marketing opportunities and aggressively reach out to those markets. Analysis will include identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges and competition. Wyoming will promote its resources, responsible development, regulatory certainty, and research and development investments. This process will lead to the identification of business opportunities and recommendations for long-term success.
GIS Tool. A widely accessible, Web-based geographic information system (GIS) with a data viewer and query tool will be developed to facilitate planning, siting and analyses for energy development and natural resource management. The tool’s extensive functionality will include a GIS map engine, links to data, query and reporting tools, forums, and a mechanism to distribute information. Landowners, industries, local, state and county agencies and the public will have access to data including socioeconomic information, pipelines, transmission, cultural resources, energy resources, agricultural resources, water resources, wildlife, soils, infrastructure and vegetation.
Hybrid Energy Systems are characterized by combining a variety of inputs through engineering to produce a variety of outputs. In Wyoming, this could mean combining coal, natural gas and wind in a large energy campus to produce liquid fuels, chemicals and power. In the long-term, small modular nuclear plants could be part of this value-added conversion process. A fully developed energy complex will take many years to complete but this initiative will create plausible scenarios leading to specific steps forward.
Infrastructure Investment Initiative
Communities are the backbone of a strong energy economy and require good infrastructure to provide services. Wyoming needs to anticipate growth and continue investment in community infrastructure — preparing for the future. Communities must have good roads, bridges, hospitals and more to support a vibrant energy economy. They must also have the ability to integrate energy infrastructure that supports local economies, such as natural gas distribution systems, biomass generation, energy efficiency and others. Knowing what infrastructure is needed, as well as available financing options, is necessary. This initiative will explore an infrastructure priority list, analyzing basic needs and energy utilization options. $25,000 financing opportunities that facilitate development of sound infrastructure will be incorporated.
Activities: Develop an industry advisory committee to provide feedback on infrastructure requirements and availability. Contract with consultants with infrastructure expertise to evaluate infrastructure readiness across the state. Create GIS layers where necessary. Report on infrastructure deficiencies. Investigate alternative approaches to financing infrastructure.
Biomass Utilization Initiative
Biomass industries have been identified as an area where Wyoming can do more. To further this initiative, a biomass symposium will be held in 2016. The symposium will focus on increasing development for an array of forest products and facilities and to make recommendations for ongoing progress. The state will work with private and federal partners to implement recommendations from this symposium.
- Continue to monitor results of the modular biomass project.
- Continue to monitor the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies study to see if a project is feasible in Wyoming.
- Support local solid waste-to-energy projects.
- Get an accurate inventory of statewide biomass resources.
- Continue to seek an interested private party for the development of a project to partner with the Wyoming Business Council.
Wind Energy Manufacturing Initiative
Building on success in attracting manufacturers, Wyoming will explore efforts to grow a strong renewable energy manufacturing sector. The Wyoming Business Council will lead the effort — meeting with government, community members and businesses to analyze the existing opportunities, inventory current incentives and infrastructure and develop specific recommendations to grow this industry.
Activities: Prepare recommendations to attract this industry. Develop, grow and maintain contacts and prospects. Promote Wyoming at renewable energy venues. Assist regions with local marketing efforts. Review workforce training requirements and availability.
Carbon Innovation Initiative
Wyoming supports an all-inclusive energy portfolio. Federal funding for energy research and development has been focused on renewable technologies, shorting conventional resources. As a counterweight, Wyoming has focused additional efforts on advancing carbon-based energy technology. The Integrated Test Center is a public/private partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation, building a laboratory onto an existing coal-fired power plant to test new technologies on a pilot scale. It challenges the world to reimagine what can be done with CO2 emissions – incentivizing the development of technologies that convert carbon emissions into value-added products. As they are developed, successful technologies must be transferred from research to production scale. This initiative will create planning and policies for Wyoming to lead in developing commercial-scale technologies – building an industry around carbon. State agencies will identify regulatory impediments and solutions. Additional technologies in development at the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources will be integrated into planning.
- Develop a plan for engaging the public, local leaders, industry, policy makers, the university and the Executive Branch in a dialog about the issues related to the new carbon economy.
- Engage the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the state’s community colleges. The challenge is to start now to prepare for the jobs of the future. We need to do a lot of this anyway to grow high-output businesses, advanced manufacturing and technology businesses. Develop strategies for retraining those dislocated by changes in the coal economy. Laid-off miners do not readily translate into available workforce unless we are able to retain and retrain.
- Assist existing businesses with recapitalization, process modifications, marketing support, workforce retraining and other adaptations on their parts.
- Work with entrepreneurs, researchers and developers to develop the programs, financing and support to help some of them lead the effort in carbon technologies