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Jan 10, 2018

Oklahoma Wind Industry Asks to Join State Budget Discussion

Members of the Oklahoma Wind Coalition want opportunity to collaborate on proposals

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla) – Officials representing the Oklahoma Wind Coalition sent a communication to all members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma State Senate asking for the opportunity to participate in state budget discussions on proposals impacting the wind industry.

In an email to the legislature, Wind Coalition Executive Director Mark Yates states, “The Wind Industry has purposefully and methodically been disenfranchised from participating in any deliberation about the various proposals being discussed among members of the House and Senate.”

As the budget debate continues and committees commence in preparation for the beginning of regular session, members of the Oklahoma Wind Coalition contend other energy-based industries have been afforded the opportunity to consult on proposals and are asking for equal representation.

“The ongoing budget discussions reflect the lack of maturity within the Oklahoma market and creates an increased volatility for future investments,” Yates said. “The current proposal stands to be punitive toward the Wind Industry and the authors have not invited industry leaders to consult on its future impact.”

The memo also provided a copy of a letter sent to Gov. Fallin on Dec. 22, 2017, detailing the collective position of the industry and signed by 12 company leaders responsible for more than $20 billion of capital investment in energy infrastructure in Oklahoma.

An excerpt from the letter states: The soundness and stability of Oklahoma’s business climate and tax policy helped us deploy substantial capital in Oklahoma. Material alterations to that stability will be disruptive for investors, power purchasers, the power markets, and Oklahoma ratepayers. As one of Oklahoma’s growing industries, we must have a voice in the policy discussion to preserve Oklahoma’s place as a leader in renewable energy growth.

“The current proposal, as it stands, would set a different tax structure for the wind industry and effectively create a utility rate increase for all Oklahomans,” Yates said. “Oklahoma is set to become the second largest producer of wind energy in the nation. The Wind Industry is a key player in diversifying Oklahoma’s economy and growing the state’s energy independence. We should have a voice in our future.”

For More Information:
Sheila A. Curley, APR