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Wind energy felt at the state Capitol

Since 2006, nearly $200,000 has been contributed by those with ties to wind farm interests to political campaigns and causes, Oklahoma Ethics Commission data reflects.

The total spent by the wind farm industry in political campaigns is a relative pittance when compared to the contributions from carbon-based energy interests.

Still, wind farm industry campaign contributions increased from $16,250 in 2008 to $63,000 in 2012, records show.

Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, led in wind farm contributions, with receipts totaling $11,500 and $10,750, respectively.

Among the top contributors are Renew Oklahoma political action committee and NextEra Energy Inc. political action committee. Renew Oklahoma, which has donated $77,250 to candidates and candidate causes, is largely financed with donations from the construction industry, but it has received contributions from wind farm interests.

Florida-based NextEra Energy, which has wind farms in Oklahoma, has donated $69,500 to various political campaigns.

Campaign contributions aren’t the only way the wind farm industry has begun to enter the political fray.

The wind farm industry also has begun to use lobbyists to get its message out among policy makers.

In 2008, no Oklahoma lobbyists worked on behalf of the wind farm industry.

But by 2010, four wind farm companies were represented by lobbyists, Ethics Commission records show.

Today, some 13 lobbyists are registered as representing a collective 11 wind farm companies and industry groups, according to Ethics Commission reports.

The lobbyists, led by those representing the Wind Coalition, spent hundreds of dollars in 2013 on meals for state lawmakers, records reflect.