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Renewable energy providing a record 40 percent of all Oklahoma power

Oklahoma Power Alliance releases new data about state’s growth in clean power sources

(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.)–Oklahoma Power Alliance officials announced today that renewable energy provided a record 40.2% of all the state’s energy mix in 2019. 

At the State Capitol for its annual Clean Energy Day, the Oklahoma Power Alliance also released updated data regarding the state’s leading position among energy producers in the Southwest Power Pool. More than 80 participants joined the Oklahoma Power Alliance to advocate for the renewable energy industry and its project developers, investors, landowners, manufacturers and suppliers.

“This data is compelling and tells a strong story about how Oklahoma is a national leader in renewable energy production,” said Mark Yates, vice president of Advanced Power Alliance and director of policy in Oklahoma. “Wind power now comprises 40.2% of Oklahoma’s total energy production, second only to natural gas which makes up 46.3%. Clean energy is a partner to the state’s abundant power resources of natural gas, hydro, and coal.”

Oklahoma is ranked second in the United States for wind energy generation and ranked third in the nation for installed wind capacity. With more than $20 billion invested in the state so far, the wind energy industry is ranked among the top three taxpayers in 19 Oklahoma counties and 65 Oklahoma school districts. Additionally, the wind energy industry supports the Oklahoma agriculture industrythrough approximately $51 million in land lease payments to farmers and ranchers throughout 26 counties.

“Our state is known for ‘the best wind in the world,’ and now that we have harnessed its power and reaped its economic benefits, we must continue to diversify our energy portfolio. Next, Oklahoma has significant opportunities on the horizon through the development of solar energy and the growing power storage industry,” Yates said. “These investments continue to transform Oklahoma’s rural economies by offering new career opportunities, circulating new income, creating sales tax revenue, and providing valuable ad valorem throughout a county.”

The positive economic impact is being realized throughout Oklahoma with the successful attraction of mega-employers seeking access to abundant renewable power sources. Global corporations are signing long-term power purchase agreements with renewable energy producers to transition business operations to 100% clean energy.

“Two of the visionary corporations at the forefront of the U.S. renewable energy revolution are Google and Amazon, both of which are making significant capital investments in Oklahoma,” Yates said. “The Google Data Center in Pryor recently announced another $600 million investment in its facility. This expansion brings the company’s total investment to more than $3 billion in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Amazon has broken ground on Tulsa’s upcoming Amazon Distribution Center that, when complete, will equal a $130 million investment. In Oklahoma City, Amazon has opened a delivery center and is building a similar fulfillment center.”

During its Clean Energy Day, the Oklahoma Power Alliance recognized individuals who continue to support the growth of clean power in the state, including Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Sen. Kim David, Rep. Mike Sanders, Rep. Brian Hill and Kathy Jackson of Oklahoma KidWind. Additionally, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell addressed attendees regarding the importance of renewables as a part of Oklahoma’s energy mix. 

 “The manifest growth of renewable energy in Oklahoma is easy to see,” says Jeff Clark, president of the Advanced Power Alliance, the parent organization of the Oklahoma Power Alliance. “States throughout the Midwest continue to aggressively compete for new projects and investment from our members. As noted, renewable energy attracts additional employer investment as well as financially supports the agriculture industry and commodity exports.”

Download the Oklahoma Power Alliance Fact Sheet
Download the Oklahoma Power Alliance Economic Development Fact Sheet

News Coverage:

The Oklahoman: Backers of renewable energy highlight industry’s growth at Capitol event Tuesday

The Journal Record: Wind power’s share of state electricity production grows to 40%

Photo gallery from Clean Energy Day 2020:

Wind power’s share of state electricity production grows to 40%

The Journal Record | March 3, 2020
Author: Daisy Creager

Mark Yates, vice president of the Advanced Power Alliance, speaks at the state Capitol Tuesday.
(Photo by Daisy Creager)

OKLAHOMA CITY – In 2019, wind power accounted for 40.2% of Oklahoma’s electricity production for the first time in history, following only natural gas, which accounted for 46.3% of the state’s generation last year, according to the Advanced Power Alliance.

The alliance released updated data about the state’s renewable resources Tuesday for Clean Energy Day at the state Capitol, meeting with state lawmakers about the information and discussing pending legislation that will affect the industry.

The alliance reported that in 2019, Oklahoma ranked second for overall wind power generation and third for installed wind capacity. Wind made up 57% of generator interconnection requests the state receives from within the Southwest Power Pool.

“Those numbers are going to continue (to grow), because we continue to see investment in not just wind in the next year-and-a-half, we also see solar,” said APA Vice President Mark Yates.

Prior to a series of meetings with lawmakers, Yates discussed the report with renewable energy advocates, highlighting important points and contention they may face.

He said that two years ago during Clean Energy Day, a year when the state was facing another consecutive budget deficit, discussions about renewables were contentious. Even now some lawmakers oppose former tax breaks extended to wind, especially with the hurting oil and gas industry and coronavirus hurting the state budget.

Among proposed legislation the APA is following are bills addressing setbacks from private-use airports and standardizing property tax valuations for wind farms. Bills proposed in the House and Senate request that wind farms have a 1.5-mile setback from private airports, an issue Yates has referred to as setting a “dangerous” and “problematic” precedent.

Despite difficult state budget decisions to come and onerous proposed regulations, many lawmakers care about the idea of renewables, Yates said.

“We’re going to get pushback as we get into wind … (but) lawmakers are really excited about solar, they’re really excited about battery storage, but they really want to know more. … It’s really important you educate them,” Yates said.

“I promise you lawmakers don’t all know 40% of these lights are being sourced right now from renewable energy,” he said. “That’s very important that they understand what that means for Oklahoma.”

Advocating further for renewables is important for attracting business to the state, with global corporations like Amazon and Google making significant investments in Oklahoma and signing long-term power purchase agreements with renewable energy producers, the APA said in a press release.

“There’s going to be an abundant benefit of continuing to drive down costs, costs to the consumer, but also small business and big business, it’s an economic tool,” Yates said.

Read more here.

Southern reaches Wildhorse Mountain summit

Energy Central | Feb. 21, 2020

Southern Power has started commercial operations at the 100MW Wildhorse Mountain wind farm in the US state of Oklahoma.

Wildhorse Mountain, which is located in Pushmataha County, comprises 29 Vestas turbines.

The Danish manufacturer will also operate and maintain the facility for Southern Power, with the latter responsible for performing the balance of onsite plant operations.

Electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the project are being sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC).

AECC will have the option to keep or sell the associated RECs.

Southern Power acquired Wildhorse Mountain in May 2018 from RES, which served as the developer and constructor of the site.

Peak construction generated about 250 jobs.

Southern Power chief executive Mark Lantrip said Wildhorse Mountain is our fourth wind project in the state of Oklahoma, and we are pleased to see this project achieve commercial operation.

This additional facility showcases our commitment to the development of wind energy and is an excellent addition to our growing renewable fleet.

Southern Power’s wind portfolio now consists of more than 2058MW and is a part of the company’s 4454MW renewable fleet.

The company has 40 solar and wind facilities operating or under construction.

Read more here.