The Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization hosted a virtual workshop today tailored to providing Wyoming’s energy communities with resources for economic growth, workforce development and job opportunities.
Supporting Wyoming’s Energy Communities provided attendees with the unique opportunity to meet directly with federal, state and local officials in both a large group setting and smaller breakout sessions to discuss state-specific challenges and share perspectives and ideas on potential pathways to economic growth in energy communities across the state.
“Wyoming’s energy community needs are drastically different across the state, which is why we brought together a diverse panel of local leaders who could speak to and address those unique needs,” said IWG Executive Director Brian Anderson, Ph. D. “Whether an area is focused on creating opportunities for current and former traditional energy workers, power plant redevelopment, or other critical issues, our goal is to help those areas access the necessary resources to advance their efforts.”
Following an introduction from Anderson and welcoming remarks from Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Randall Luthi, Chief Energy Advisor to Governor Gordon, attendees heard from local leaders on the energy transition landscape in Wyoming. Dr. Glen Murrell of the Wyoming Energy Authority, Dr. Holly Krutka of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, Dr. Kim Dale of the Western Wyoming Community College, Chauffe Schirmer of the Utility Workers Union of America, Commissioner Rusty Bell from Campbell County, Commissioner Jim Willox from Converse County, Commissioner Bob King from Lincoln County and Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld from Sweetwater County discussed workforce development efforts currently underway and specific opportunities to grow local and regional economies, create good-paying jobs and keep energy workers in Wyoming.
Senior federal officials representing the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior and Labor, and the Economic Development Administration and Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the billions in federal funding opportunities currently available for energy communities, including the recently passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which will further enhance the work of the IWG, benefitting coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities throughout the nation.
Resources discussed at the webinar and other federal funding opportunities can be found on the IWG’s new Clearinghouse web tool, an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop hosting all resources across the federal government open to energy communities.
The webinar recording, presentation slides, and final agenda can be found here.
Established by an Executive Order during President Biden’s first week in office, the IWG is pursuing a whole-of-government approach to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation and support energy workers in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities across the country as the U.S. prepares to undergo a historic energy evolution to a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.