Inquiry of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to identify and resolve issues related to the development and use of wind energy
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (“Commission”) opens this Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) to identify and examine issues regarding wind energy development in the State of Oklahoma and in consideration of Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman’s letter dated May 19, 2014, requesting that the Commission examine certain aspects of wind energy development. The following items are some, but not necessarily all, matters to be considered:
- When siting a wind farm, which, if any, governmental entities are involved with the approval of the site? For each entity listed, please identify the area or function each has in regulation.
- When siting wind turbines, what consideration should be given to economic, geographical, and socioeconomic conditions of each location? Please identify all benefits and detriments.
- In regard to wind siting, please identify the “best practices” that the wind industry recognizes. Are those practices codified? Are other states incorporating those practices into law and, if so, how?
- Please identify all wind farm site location interconnection issues.
- Are the following areas currently reviewed and/or regulated by specific regulatory authorities or by law: environmental conditions; safety; aesthetics, use and enjoyment of property; wildlife; noise pollution; sound and flicker or light pollution. For each area identified, please provide the regulatory authority and/or associated law.
- What are the current mechanisms at the city, county, state, and federal levels to resolve disputes concerning wind energy?
- When siting is granted, is consideration given to areas of high consequence such as air fields, oil and gas facilities, roads, highways, schools, and hospitals?
- How do Oklahoma’s wind energy policies and regulations compare to those of other states. Are Oklahoma’s policies more or less encouraging for development than policies in other states?
- Does the value of property decrease once a wind farm is created on or near it?
- What are Oklahomans’ specific concerns regarding the existing siting structure?
- What types of conflicts have arisen between wind project developers or host landowners and neighboring landowners or mineral rights owners or others?
- What role can or should the Commission have in implementing or decommissioning wind units? Should it be similar to decommissioning of transmission facilities found at OAC 165:35-43-7?
- Should a wind facility file a decommissioning plan in addition to the filing requirement in 17 O.S. § 160.15? If so, where should it be filed?
- Does a wind energy company’s accounting methodology/asset retirement require them to recognize an asset for future decommissioning purposes when the cost is incurred?
- Are or should performance/surety bonds be required for wind farms as required in oil and gas matters, and in addition to that required in 17 O.S. § 160.15?
- Should and can wind energy facility owners and/or operators be required to notify the Commission of the facility’s start-up date for purposes of calculating a compliance deadline under 17 O.S. § 160.15?
- What are the current notification requirements to landowners, and what are the available methods for enforcing the requirements?
- What are the current industry “best practices” for notice?
- Are County Commissioners and/or County Assessors involved in the notification practices?
- What are the notice requirements in surrounding states concerning wind turbine installations?
- How should the notification materialize, and what information should it contain?
- What distance from the host property is appropriate to include in notifications?
- How much advance notice should be given prior to construction or permitting?
- Identify any issues with notification to surface landowners and mineral rights owners.
TECHNICAL CONFERENCES, COMMENTS, DISCOVERY, AND HEARING:
Comment Due Dates:
Initial Comments – August 26, 2014
Following first Technical Conference – September 30, 2014
Following second Technical Conference – October 31, 2014
Comments should be filed in the Commission’s Office of the Court Clerk.
September 11, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.
October 15, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.
Additional Technical Conferences may be scheduled if necessary. Unless otherwise indicated, all Technical Conferences will be held in Courtroom 301, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 2101 N. Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105.
December 2, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 301, Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The Commission has jurisdiction over the above-entitled Notice of Inquiry pursuant to Article IX, Section 18 of the Oklahoma Constitution and 17 O.S. § 152, and 17 O.S. 160.11 et seq.
Interested persons are invited and encouraged to submit written comments and to attend and participate in the Technical Conferences and hearing to the fullest extent possible. The purpose of the Technical Conferences will be to receive pertinent information and to discuss issues and comments received by the Commission in response to this Notice of Inquiry. Commissioners may attend and participate in the Technical Conferences and hearing.
For further information contact Tonya Hinex-Ford at 2101 N. Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105 or at T.Hinex-Ford@occemail.com or 405-521-4114.
Cause no. PUD 201400232