Forbes is reporting on a bizarre new twist on the energy wars. Hitherto both the federal and some state governments have thrown restrictions on the drilling and use of fossil fuels. Now the state of Wyoming in contemplating what is, in effect, a ban on solar and wind energy in the state.

The idea is that only oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, or nuclear power would be permitted sources of energy for Wyoming utilities. Companies that choose to generate electricity from solar and wind would incur a penalty of $10 a kilowatt hour, pricing them out of the market.

No one knows exactly what the motivation for the proposal legislation is or how seriously it is being pushed. As far as anyone can guess, the bill is a push back against the so-called War on Coal that has been waged by the Obama administration. Coal mining is a major industry in Wyoming, so restrictions on coal-fired power plants would tend to hurt that state’s economy.

The proposed legislation is, at best, ill-considered and ill-advised. Even supporters of the unrestricted extraction and use of fossil fuels tend to be, at worse, agnostic about Renewable Energy. If wind and solar can compete in the energy market, by all means, let those methods of electricity production flourish.

Indeed, in Texas, a state usually associated with oil and gas, is the fastest growing wind power state.

Wind farms have sprouted in north and west Texas, where constant winds persist and have been connected with the energy-hungry cities of central and east Texas by power lines subsidized by the state government. Texas is currently contemplating a big play in solar energy. The Lone Star State is approaching energy production from a pragmatic, business-oriented perspective.

Oil and gas, thanks to the fracking boom, will always be part of Texas’ economy. But the political and business leaders of the Lone Star State, if they know anything, recognize the virtues of diversification. The price or oil and gas rise and fall according to market conditions. Wind and solar are always available, waiting to be tapped.

Wyoming should follow the example of her bigger sister state.

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