A pilot plan to develop a wind farm on public property by OG&E has been scrapped, and company officials say future plans will include only private property.
OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said preliminary discussions with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation about developing a wind farm generating plant on the Cooper Wildlife Management Area northwest of Woodward have been dropped. The announcement came after about three months of sometimes contentious discussions by local environmentalists and sportsmen, some of whom opposed the wind farm near Fort Supply.
Alford said the original idea was to develop the wind energy farm on the wildlife area and provide income for the department of wildlife management. However, local activists found strong opposition which came from not only residents and sportsmen, but also from OG&E employees who also expressed concern.
Susan Selman, of the Selman Ranch 25 miles north of Woodward near the Cooper Wildlife Management Area, was concerned about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife living in refuges paid for by Oklahoma taxpayers and sportsmen. Selman was concerned it would hurt the area economy. She is not opposed to wind energy, but said it should not be done on public property.
OG&E saw the wind farm as a companion to the Centennial farm already in existence on private land just north of Fort Supply. The Centennial farm produces 120 megawatts of electricity with 80 turbines. It was developed and came on line in late 2006 and early 2007. OG&E plans to quadruple its wind energy capacity. The company currently has 170 megawatts and can increase that to 770 megawatts that would make western Oklahoma a national wind energy leader.
The company proposes a renewable energy tariff allowing customers to choose up to 100 percent green energy. OG&E statistics show customer demand for green energy has never been higher, and Alford said the state has an opportunity to provide a program unparalleled in the nation.
OG&E also obtains electricity from Sooner Wind Farm north of Mooreland, but is 100 percent owner of the Centennial farm.
In the meantime Alford said there is plenty of land in the Woodward area.
By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
4 April 2008
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