Wind Power News: Oklahoma
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
OKLAHOMA CITY – New plans to cub tax incentives for wind farms are churning controversy, as green energy supporters say sudden limits could imperil the industry. But newly elected Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair, who has filed a measure to cap annual payouts to wind farms at $25 million, said it’s time to face reality. “As I started digging into it, I started realizing that this credit could bankrupt us,” he said. The subsidies, known as zero-emission tax credits, are shaping up . . .
The single largest gift during the period was the $9,927 spent by a lobbyist from NextEra Energy Operating Services. The renewable energy company, which owns five wind farms in Oklahoma, paid for a House GOP caucus event on Dec. 4, according to the filings. The lobbying comes as Oklahoma’s wind-power tax credit, which costs the state more than $100 million a year, is being considered for curtailment in the wake of a review by the state’s Incentive Evaluation Commission. (Contrast NextEra’s gift with the largest one in the same period of 2016: The state-created Grand River Dam Authority spent $8,250 on an event to which all lawmakers were invited.)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Seeking funding for teacher pay raises as promised in his campaign, Ok. District 1 Senator Micheal Bergstrom, is proposing a cap on wind credits. Wind credits are a part of the Tax Credit for zero emission facilities. State Sen. Bergstrom has filed a bill that would cap tax credits at $25 million statewide for electricity generated by zero emission facilities, including wind energy, and another that could use the savings to provide a graduated teacher pay raise . . .
When negotiating the lease for a wind development on tribal land north of Ponca City, the Cherokee Nation insisted on preserving the way one particular part of the property looks: the historic Chilocco Indian School. Built in 1883, the boarding school operated for nearly a century and was seen as a “home and haven to some, reformatory and prison to others,” as described by the Oklahoma Historical Society. No wind turbines will stand within a mile of the campus, which . . .
A new wind project may be coming to Alfalfa, Major and Garfield counties. NextEra Energy Resources Inc., is proposing a 250-megawatt project in the area. Spokesman Steve Stengel said the proposed project is in early development stages. “What we’re doing at this point is talking to land owners to gauge their interest in this project as well as looking at the electric system to see where our project would interconnect into the grid,” Stengel said. “We’re also talking to potential . . .
OKLAHOMA CITY – Lucrative incentives for wind farms are again spinning up controversy, as industry supporters argue for continued support from the state while critics question whether Oklahoma can afford it. “Right now, Oklahoma is kind of ground-zero for debate over wind policy, wind subsidies,” said Lance Brown, executive director of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy. Brown on Wednesday was promoting the group’s new report, “Oklahoma Depends on Wind,” which argues for the industry and advocates for tax incentives meant . . .
Outgoing Senate Finance Chairman Mike Mazzei addressed the Incentive Evaluation Commission recently in support of a report that examined the cost versus benefits of the state’s Zero Emission Facility tax credit. The PFM consulting group determined the cost significantly exceeds the benefits of the program, and recommends that the credit termination date should be accelerated. In addition to having served as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Mazzei is a licensed certified financial planner. For years he has advocated . . .
A political panel tasked with evaluating state tax incentives voted Tuesday to approve a report that recommended curbing a tax credit used by the wind industry. The Incentive Review Commission, established by the Legislature in 2015, approved reports on 10 of 11 incentives under review this year. Collectively, those incentives reduce state revenues by at least $150 million annually, Oklahoma Watch’s Warren Vieth reports. An independent firm researched and produced the reports, which included one that recommended the state cap or narrow the eligibility . . .
OKLAHOMA CITY – A new report says an Oklahoma tax credit that provides millions of dollars to the wind industry is overly generous and should be trimmed sooner than planned. The report by the consultant Public Financial Management makes recommendations on a series of tax incentive programs under the requirements of a law enacted last year. Oklahoma provides about $1 billion in business tax breaks annually, but faces a huge budget shortfall for core public services like education, health and public . . .
A state senator from Tulsa says a tax credit for the wind industry that is costing the state more than $100 million annually poses a threat to the state budget and should be ended. Outgoing Senate Finance Chairman Mike Mazzei made the comments Thursday during a meeting of the Incentive Evaluation Commission. The panel is exploring the costs and benefits of various tax credits and making suggestions to lawmakers on how they should be changed. An independent consulting group hired . . .