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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.

Advanced Wind Technician Program opens new career opportunities for rural student

FOX OKC | Feb. 13, 2020
Author: Destiny Washington

Students that attend Advanced Wind Technician Certification Program can work at wind turbines anywhere in the world. (Courtesy: Demery Pennington)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KOKH) — Oklahoma has vast energy resources, and opportunities are growing to support the clean power industry.

High Plains Technology Center (HPTC) started its wind tech program 12 years ago, with an eye toward training workers for all of Oklahoma’s energy careers.

“A lot has changed since then,” says Taylor Burnett, Asst. Superintendent of the school. “The program started out small, but wind is booming now.”

Burnett says the Advanced Wind Technician Certification Program at High Plains typically enrolls between 12-14 students in a course, with two 20-week courses occurring each year.

The program is creating a robust talent pool that attracts multi-national corporations to Oklahoma for development. Because of this, the wind industry is already the number one taxpayer in 12 counties and 48 school districts, and that number is growing.

Bryant Shepherd, an 18-year-old student from Woodward heard about the program at a high school career fair. 

“The job stability of wind is what drew me to the program at High Plains. I can’t count on oil and gas to put food on the table consistently, so I decided to become a wind tech,” Shepherd said. “I hope to eventually work my way up to becoming a Site Lead.” said Shepherd.

Bonnie Holloway is a 24-year-old student who decided to follow in her dad’s footsteps. 

“My dad has been a wind tech for 15 years. We’re from New Mexico, but my parents moved to Oklahoma for his work, and I decided to follow them. I was working in healthcare before and sitting behind a desk all day is not for me,” Holloway said. “The numbers also make a lot of sense.” said Holloway.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind technicians are rated among the fastest growing jobs in America, and they’re being equipped and trained right here in our state.

Read more here.

For first time ever, renewables surpass coal in U.S. power mix

Tulsa World / June 26, 2019

For first time ever, renewables surpass coal in U.S. power mix

For the clearest sign yet that renewable energy has gone mainstream, consider this: Clean energy resources supplied more of America’s electricity than coal for the first time ever in April.

Hydropower dams, solar panels and wind turbines generated almost 68.5 million megawatt-hours of power in April, eclipsing the 60 million that coal produced that month, Energy Information Administration data released late Tuesday show. That’s the most clean power the U.S. has ever made – and the least coal it has burned for power in years.

The shift is a testament to the rapid development of solar and wind farms across the country. The two forms of power have become so cheap to build that BloombergNEF is projecting that half of the world’s power may come from renewable energy by 2050. The onslaught of clean power is coming largely at the expense of coal, which only a decade ago supplied more electricity in the U.S. than anything else. The mining industry is collapsing even as President Donald Trump works to restore coal to its former glory by gutting environmental rules.

The clean energy industry should enjoy this moment while it lasts. One of the main reasons coal-fired power plants produced so little in April was because some were down for routine, springtime maintenance. Coal is forecast to return to its perch as the second-biggest source of electricity — after natural gas — as those units return to service and demand peaks this summer.

But the trend is clear: Renewable energy will continue to eclipse coal in future months as more wind and solar farms are deployed, EIA’s forecasts show.

(Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder and majority stakeholder of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has committed $500 million to launch Beyond Carbon, a campaign aimed at closing the remaining coal-powered plants in the U.S. by 2030 and slowing the construction of new gas plants.)