The Wyoming Business Council's State Energy Office (SEO) is charged with promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout Wyoming. The SEO has formally partnered with the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UWCES) to promote renewable energy allowing the SEO to focus efforts on energy efficiency. The mission of the Wyoming SEO is to support viable energy efficiency efforts and energy resource development that contribute to Wyoming’s long-term economic sustainability and the nation’s energy independence.
The U.S. State Energy Program (SEP) funds are vital in assisting the Wyoming SEO to further efforts in the residential market, business, industry, local and state government.
The SEP funds provide program support for a wide array of activities that include a Facility Building Retrofit Program, a K-12 Facility Retrofit and Renewable Demonstration Program, and a Residential Renewable Energy Grant Program.
Wyoming residents have benefited from renewable incentive grants through the SEO since 1999. Since that time over 400 incentives were issued with over 228 of those being complete since 2009. Cost and generation data on installations that occurred in the last two years is being collected and will provide both the SEO and UWCES valuable analytics going forward. Those renewable systems include nine ground source heat, 75 photovoltaic and 144 small wind systems. Total generating capacity on those systems is over 657 kilowatt (kW).
Based on research conducted through the SEO office in 2010, there is a need for awareness building to the Wyoming residential sector on the energy efficiency topic. SEP funds are being used as part of a statewide messaging campaign to deploy the newly developed Wyoming EnergyWise brand. A third avenue that is being offered to the residential sector is a pilot revolving loan program where utility/community partnerships develop an energy efficiency plan then offer low/no interest loans to the residential sector for energy efficiency or renewable improvements. The loan pool is capitalized using SEP funds and over time will revolve back to the SEO. Lessons learned through the pilot will be shared with future utility/community partnerships that apply.
The business/non-profit and local government sector benefit from a re-tooled Energy Audit and Improvement program. The program splits cost-share incentives to first encourage the completion of a level two energy audit then provides the remainder of the incentive for the recommended energy efficiency improvements that are implemented. This program garnered interest in the fall of 2011 when a UWCES partnership using USDA funds allowed the program to increase the funds available and serve many more Wyoming businesses, non-profits and local governments.
The local and state government sector are served by performance contracting programs. The primary program was originally launched in 2007 and titled the Wyoming Energy Improvement and Conversation Program (WYECIP). The WYECIP has since been revised and re-launched July 1, 2011.
Related to energy resource development, the SEO works with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies on request to support efforts toward wind development, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear, biomass and hybrid energy systems. Wyoming’s Governor Mead was an initial signor to a multi-state memorandum of understanding to propose natural-gas replacements for state fleets. The SEO supports the Governor’s efforts for infrastructure build-out and related steps.