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Oklahoma Moves Up To Fourth Place In U.S. Wind Capacity

Jan 29, 2015

The American Wind Energy Association says Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for wind capacity.

The Oklahoman reports the state moved up two spots in the rankings after adding 648 megawatts of wind capacity in 2014. Oklahoma now has 3,782 megawatts of wind capacity.

Oklahoma is expected to add another 2,000 megawatts of capacity in the next year when wind farms that are under construction come online. Many of the new wind power purchase agreements will ship the electricity to out-of-state utilities.

Jeff Clark, executive director for The Wind Coalition, a regional trade group, said the state’s rise in the rankings points to Oklahoma’s growing position within the wind industry.

“As a vital component of Oklahoma’s energy mix, wind energy currently provides nearly 15 percent of the state’s electricity, with the capacity to provide much more in the future,” Clark said. “Wind energy in Oklahoma is not only very abundant, but also affordable, clean, reliable and it consumes no water, a very important side note when considering the state’s ongoing drought.”

The wind association says Texas remained in first place for total wind capacity in 2014 with 14,094 megawatts of wind power, followed by California with 5,917 megawatts and Iowa with 5,688 megawatts. One megawatt can power about 250 homes during times of peak electric demand.

“It’s the result of a number of different things in the industry: the entrepreneurial, innovative spirit, the evolving technology, but it’s also very much the result of an appropriate and successful policy in the production tax credit,” Tom Kiernan, the wind association’s CEO, said in a conference call.

Lawmakers in Washington extended the production tax credit for the last couple of weeks of 2014, but the association said that wasn’t enough time to make a difference for most wind developers.

The incentive provides 2.3 cents for each kilowatt hour of electricity generated from wind for 10 years.

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