On Monday, Oct. 5, at 9 a.m., the governor’s office will hold its final public meeting. At this meeting all of the ideas identified through the previous meetings will be presented.
For more than 30 years, Wyoming leaders have professed the importance of adding value to the state’s mineral resources rather than simply exporting raw products — particularly coal. Companies have floated dozens of proposal for coal briquettes, coal-gasification for electrical export and coal-to-liquid fuels. The closest any have come to fruition (save for a few fits and starts in coal briquetting) is DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC’s Medicine Bow coal-to-gasoline plant, which began its first phase of construction last fall, according to the Rawlins Daily Times.
The $40 million plant will manufacture about 300 wind towers annually and employ about 150 workers, according to the companies. The manufacturing plant may help reduce project development costs for companies planning to develop wind farms in the region, which in turn could bolster the economics of building large interstate electrical transmission lines from Wyoming to metropolitan areas of the West. “You’re just in a great spot for future growth,” Worthington Global Group president Ralph Roberts said during a press conference in Cheyenne this morning.
In Rocky Mountain Power’s current rate increase request of 17.3 percent for Wyoming customers, utility officials say the rising cost of coal is a bigger factor. “One of the single biggest factors in our Wyoming pricing request is related to coal,” said Jeff Hymas, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, Wyoming’s largest regulated utility. “We have expiring contracts for coal used at our power plants, and expiring contracts for power we have to purchase.”