wind energy

Economy
5:02 am
Thu June 11, 2015

America's Next Economic Boom Could Be Lying Underground

Pump jacks and wells work in an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation in California. Economist Michael Porter says that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a "game changer" for the U.S. economy.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 2:42 pm

There's a serious problem in the American economy: Big corporations are doing well, but real household income for average Americans has been falling over the past decade — down 9 percent, according to census data.

"That's not good for America," says Harvard economist Michael Porter. "That's not good for America's standard of living. That's not good for our ultimate vitality as a nation."

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Here & Now
2:35 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Answer To Saving The Sage Grouse Could Be In The Wind

In Gunnison, Colorado, during the March to May mating season, a male Gunnison Sage Grouse displays his filoplumes (topknot), bulging air sac, white breasts and spiky tail feathers. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/ Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 2:34 pm

A chicken-sized game bird native to western sagebrush has become the focus of the biggest conservation project in U.S. history.

This week, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced management plans for the greater sage grouse across federal public lands in 10 Western states. It’s part of an effort to keep the bird off the endangered species list, one that has become a complex balancing act between saving critical ecosystems and protecting the region’s key industries.

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Around the Nation
10:40 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

New Transmission Line To Carry Wind Energy Not Met With Open Arms

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:56 am
Thu February 26, 2015

House Committee Advances Bill Placing Location Restrictions on New Wind Farms

Tammy and Rick Huffstutlar have spoken out against wind farm development near their home in Calument, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill adding new regulations and oversight of Oklahoma’s booming wind industry passed a House committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 1549, one of several bills filed in the 2015 Legislature that target the wind industry, places limits on where companies can build new wind farms. The proposed measure would prevent new wind farms from being built near schools, hospitals or airports.

The bill was written by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville. He says landowners and the wind industry were consulted when crafting the legislation.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:57 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Wind Power ‘Superhighway’ Could Help Transform Panhandle Into U.S. Energy Hub

A wind turbine under assembly near Balko in Oklahoma's Panhandle. When completed, the turbine will be part of Apex Energy's 300-megawatt Balko Wind Project.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The wind energy boom has largely evaded Oklahoma’s Panhandle, but new turbine projects and a proposal for a $2 billion transmission line could transform the prairie into a national wind energy hub.

But the projects are being planned amid uncertainty at the state Capitol, where tax credits for the wind industry are in the crosshairs.

FILLING IN THE TRANSMISSION GAP

Despite being one of the state’s richest sources of wind energy, the Oklahoma Panhandle is home to very few wind farms.

Carroll Beaman knows why. The fourth-generation farmer was born during the height of the Dust Bowl and still owns the homestead his family settled shortly after the turn of the century.

“It’s very sparsely settled,” he says. “No industry, except for some of the oil and gas, so it’s never had transmission.”

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:39 am
Thu December 18, 2014

StateImpact’s Biggest Stories of 2014 and a Preview of Reporting for the Coming Year

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact racked up thousands of miles traveling across the state this year, filing more than 40 full-length radio features and hundreds of web posts on how government energy, environmental and economic policy affects ordinary Oklahomans. And many of those stories involve issues that are ongoing.

EPA Regulations

On of the first broadcast stories we filed this year was on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional haze rule, and how pollution from Texas coal plants dirties the skies above the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma. Volunteer firefighter and avid hiker Bill Cunningham took us to the top of Mount Scott to show us the pollution the rules are supposed to fight.

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Energy
11:33 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Scrutiny of Subsidies Could Test the Economics of Wind Energy in Oklahoma

A NextEra Renewable Energy Resources wind farm site near Elk City, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2015 session is still months away, but the newly elected Oklahoma Legislature has already started talking about how to divvy up roughly $7 billion in state appropriations.

Some prominent lawmakers are promising to re-examine tax credits and economic incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of those incentives are used for wind energy, which the industry says are working.

Big Wind

Oklahoma is in the middle of a wind boom. In the last five years, installed wind power capacity has soared more than 200 percent. Last year, Oklahoma was the country’s fourth-largest producer of wind-powered electricity, data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency show. But every energy boom comes with a cost.

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Energy
1:22 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Possible Wind Energy Regulation Coming to Oklahoma

A wind-powered water pump and a wind-driven electricity turbine share a field near the town of Calumet in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday ended its four-month inquiry into wind energy development in Oklahoma. The examination could lead to new rules, though it’s not clear what they might be or which agency would enforce them.

The commission heard from vocal landowners for and against wind farms. Developers lauded the economic potential of Oklahoma’s wind, while conservationists and Indian tribes warned that, left unchecked, turbines would kill threatened bird species and ruin delicate grasslands.

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Energy
4:33 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Wanted: Wind Turbine Mechanic — Must Be Daredevil, Skilled With Hands

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 6:59 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:55 am
Thu October 9, 2014

How a Wind Farm is Helping Save the Family Farm in Western Oklahoma

Monte Tucker, left, stands with his son and dad on the family's farm near Sweetwater, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the ongoing debate about Oklahoma’s wind industry and whether it needs stricter regulation, two types of property owners have been the most vocal: those who hate the idea of turbines next door, and those eager to lease land to a wind company.

But there’s a voice that’s been largely absent from the discussion so far: Landowners who have wind farms and like them.

Family, Factory

For four generations, Monte Tucker’s family has been squeezing life out of the land. Dead tree stumps become renewable winter energy sources. And if you have an excited 3-year-old boy with a hatchet, like Tucker’s son Reid, the labor to harvest that energy comes with zero cost.

“For some reason, he’s just been obsessed with chopping firewood lately,” Tucker says as he watches his son drag a stump onto the gravel driveway of the family’s home.

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