economic incentives

The Blue Canyon wind farm near Carnegie, Okla.
Joe Wertz / KGOU

State legislators and wind industry representatives are close to a deal that would end two tax incentives and preserve a third, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

Under the tentative agreement, a five-year property tax exemption for new wind farms would end after 2016, but a zero-emissions tax credit would remain in place. Another incentive that isn’t used much by wind developers, the investment tax credit, would end Jan. 1, 2017.

mtneer_man / Flickr

Legislation adding siting restrictions and reporting requirements to new wind energy developments passed a House committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 808 is now the primary wind regulation bill for the 2015 legislative session, replacing the similarly worded House Bill 1549, Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, tells The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies:

Provided / Oklahoma Senate

The Oklahoma Senate approved two bills Wednesday designed to provide more scrutiny and oversight of some of the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of state tax credits. Both bills by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) now go to the House for consideration.

A wind turbine under assembly near Balko in Oklahoma's Panhandle. When completed, the turbine will be part of D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments' 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.


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

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House and Senate leaders have introduced legislation that would require thorough reviews every four years of several dozen business incentives that are costing the state as much as $300 million annually.

Companion bills authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, would create a seven-member Incentive Evaluation Commission to conduct the quadrennial reviews.

Frank Robson, a wind farm opponent and property developer from Claremore, Okla., at an Oct. 21 Senate hearing on tax incentives for the wind industry.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Members of the state Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from the wind industry and a representative of a group of property owners pushing for stricter regulation of wind farms.

The Senate study centered on the cost-benefit of tax credits and incentives used by the wind industry. Supporters said Oklahoma’s incentives attract projects that might otherwise be built in other states with similar wind potential, including sites in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

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

Rebecca Cruise reports on the Xi Jinping's tour of South Asia and its effects on the future of trade between China and those countries. She also outlines President Obama's strategy to help contain the Ebola outbreak devastating West Africa.

Later in the program, Suzette Grillot interviews groundbreaking social entrepreneur Paul Polak about his strategies for pulling people out of poverty around the world.

When Paul Polak visited Bangladesh for the first time he did what he says people with humanitarian aims don’t do enough. He asked the residents what they needed.

“They quickly told me in Bangladesh that they were poor because they made most of their money from farming on small one-acre farms,” Polack says. “And what they needed most to earn more income was affordable irrigation.”

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An Oklahoma City attorney who challenged the constitutionality of a bill that changed the effective tax rate levied on oil and gas drillers asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday to dismiss his lawsuit.

From The Oklahoman‘s Rick Green: