wind energy

OAKLEYORIGINALS / FLICKR

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed legislation bringing to an early end the last major tax incentive for the wind industry.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the state having to once again borrow money, this time $31M to pay for operational expenses, lawmakers sending Governor Fallin a measure to end tax credits for the wind industry this summer rather than in 2021 and an e-mail causes controversy when it warns House pages of "crossdressers" in the building.

A bill that brings an early end to the last major tax incentive for the wind industry has cleared its last legislative hurdle and now awaits Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature.

Growing up on the plains of West Texas, Lanny Copeland says there weren't too many options for a young man looking to make a living.

"If you weren't a farmer," Copeland says, "chances were pretty good you were in the oil field."

But from early on, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up — to follow in his father's footsteps as a cowboy and ranch manager.

"You felt like you were a part of history," Copeland says, "taking part in the great Texas cattle industry."

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

One major tax incentive for wind energy remains on the books in Oklahoma. And the Legislature is poised to end it — more than three years early. The politics of renewable energy have changed as state revenues have failed, but some wind producers say lawmakers are backing out on a deal, and that sends a bad message to any industry considering investing in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s wind industry has grown year after year. With 3,400 turbines spread across 41 wind farm projects, the state ranks No. 3 in the nation in the American Wind Energy Association’s report on wind power capacity.

Larry Smith / Flickr

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation to roll back a state tax credit for the wind energy industry.

The House passed the bill Thursday by a vote of 74-24 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 2298 modifies the tax credit for electricity generated by zero-emission facilities like wind turbines. It says facilities must be in operation by July 1 in order to qualify for the credit, instead of the current deadline of Jan. 1, 2021.

Georgetown, Texas, is a conservative town in a conservative state. So it may come as something of a surprise that it's one of the first cities in America to be entirely powered by renewable energy.

Mayor Dale Ross, a staunch Republican who attended President Trump's inauguration, says that decision came down to a love of green energy and "green rectangles" — cash.

Nearly 3/4 of Oklahoma voters oppose a half-cent tax on wind-generated electricity proposed by Gov. Mary Fallin, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports a poll sponsored by a wind advocacy group shows. “The State Chamber also is voicing opposition to the plan.”

Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in the United States. But a broad swath of the country has had no large, commercial wind farms — until now. A new one with 104 towers is up and running near Elizabeth City, N.C., where it spans 22,000 acres.

The latest market report from the American Wind Energy Association comes as lawmakers start discussions over the future of state incentives for wind generation “and the possibility of a new tax on wind production proposed by Gov. Mary Fallin,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.

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