The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Wyoming reported 225 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 1,419 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Wyoming cleantech sector grew by 56.4% compared with a 14.0% growth in overall employment for the state over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) Wyoming saw around $9 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.
In 2009 Wyoming had 12 renewable energy companies, and provided direct and indirect employment to 1,751 people in renewable energy. In 2010 it is estimated that wind energy supported a total of between 500 and a 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Wyoming exports its much of its wind power to Colorado, Utah and Oregon and because of this has room to further develop its wind resources well beyond what its local energy markets could absorb. Wyoming has a growing wind industry and installed 425 MW in 2009 alone, and now ranks as the 13th largest wind producing state in the country. Wyoming also has a lot of undeveloped excellent wind sites that could add thousands of megawatts of additional capacity.
Converse and Carbon Counties are the chosen sites for two proposed 2 GW wind farms, planned to encompass more than 100,000 acres each. The Converse County project has a planned commissioning date for the end of the year 2014, while the Carbon County project is set to be finished by the end of year 2012, if they can secure financing.
General Electric (GE) and the University of Wyoming have started a collaborative effort at the Powder River Basin, where they will experiment with GE’s clean coal technology.41 Although not as clean as solar or wind energy, gasifying coal before burning it allows more particulate matter to be captured, while also reducing nitrogen oxide42 by 33%. Additionally, this process requires 30% less water than traditional methods of coal energy production. The facility is expected to be operational by 2012, and could yield new uses for Wyoming’s coal.
Wyoming’s biofuels market consists of a cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant that uses forestry residues as feedstock, a recently expanded corn ethanol plant that produces 10 million gallons per year, and a biodiesel facility that produces 30 million gallons per year.
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