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wind energy

The country’s fastest growing occupation is wind turbine technician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — with numbers expected to more than double over the next decade.

So what does a wind turbine job entail? Where can you get training? And will the field continue to grow under the Trump administration?

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

An organization opposed to wind power incentives says payouts could total $5.2 billion by 2030 if Oklahoma’s zero-emissions tax credit continues, “an amount the wind industry said is highly inflated,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

Wind turbines at dusk
Samir Luther / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma remained No. 4 in the U.S. in installed wind power capacity during the second quarter of 2016, but a national industry group expects the state to move up the ranks by the end of the year.

No new wind farms have been completed in recent months, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association, but more than 1,100 megawatts are currently under construction, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

A wind farm near Woodwoard and Harper Counties in northwestern Oklahoma.
Becky McCray / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association might push Oklahoma legislators to extend some of the rights afforded oil and natural gas properties to alternative forms of energy like wind and solar, the Journal Record’Brian Brus reports:

The Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Carnegie, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Southwestern Oklahoma is in the middle of an airport boom, but the new airstrips weren’t planned to attract travel — they’re designed to repel wind farms.

Rural landowners worried about ruined prairie views and diminished property values are registering private airstrips to block construction of wind farms, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports.

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

A $1.3 billion budget hole and state funding crisis fueled by low crude prices has polarized a debate on the state’s financial support of wind-generated electricity.

The Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The nonprofit Oklahoma Public School Resource Center recently released a data survey on how the wind industry funds school districts.

The report shows there is a sizeable bump in property tax revenue when a wind farm is built. However, the state aid formula fluctuates when a district gets high revenue from other sources, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

As Coal Falters, Wind Energy Is Soaring

Apr 14, 2016

Coal giant Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy filing yesterday comes as the coal industry continues its downward spiral. Blame new tough environmental regulations, cheap gas and low commodity prices for coal’s demise.

On the other hand, wind energy is booming. According to a new report by the American Wind Energy Association, more wind power was added last year than any other electricity source in the U.S., beating out natural gas and solar.

Panhandle residents pouring over maps showing possible routes for the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Project, which, if approved, would funnel wind power from Oklahoma to the southeastern U.S. power grid.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Department of Energy on March 28 cleared the way for construction of a 700-mile transmission line project designed to carry Oklahoma wind power to the southeastern U.S. electricity grid.

The $2.5 billion Plains and Eastern Clean Line is different than the typical AC power lines that crisscross the U.S. It’s a high-voltage direct-current line, which is more expensive to build but loses less electricity over long distances.

Continental Resources founder and CEO Harold Hamm, second to the left, at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association's office in Oklahoma City.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma legislators are considering eliminating some tax credits and incentives for businesses to help plug a $1.3 billion budget gap. The state’s fiscal crisis has led some oil and gas leaders to push lawmakers to end incentives for the wind industry.

INCENTIVE AGREEMENT

The Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill in May 2015 ending a program that afforded many wind developers a five-year exemption on property taxes. The measure, Senate Bill 498, authored by Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, was projected to save the state $500 million over 10 years by sunsetting an ad valorem exemption on Jan. 1 2017.

Lawmakers gather in the House chamber at the state Capitol before Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

wind turbine
Tamsin Slater / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, wants to end a federal tax subsidy for the production of electricity through wind power. The freshman Republican introduced legislation that would not allow any more companies to qualify for the tax credit after 2019.

wind turbine
Tamsin Slater / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While it wasn’t the biggest reason for Oklahoma’s budget woes, state officials said revenue was hurt by an unexpected claim on wind tax credits.

Part of a 15 percent fall in tax revenue last month was because energy producers outside the oil and gas industry claimed $24.5 million worth of energy tax credits. The industries include wind production and coal, The Journal Record's Dale Denwalt reports:

The Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

U.S. Sen. James Lankford is introducing a bill to remove an expired wind energy incentive from the federal tax code.

The federal Production Tax Credit for wind energy expired in December 2014, but since it’s part of the tax code, lawmakers can extend it by bundling it with legislation to extend other tax credits and incentives. That has happened as recently as July, when a Senate committee voted to extend the PTC as part of a $95 billion bundle of incentives.

Our electricity system is changing rapidly around us. New sources of renewable power are meeting technologies that can crunch unprecedented amounts of data. It’s all leading to a major shakeup for how utilities do business. Dan Boyce from Here & Now’s contributor Inside Energy takes us to Fort Collins, Colorado, for a peek into our utility’s possible future.

Texas Wind Power Subsidies In Jeopardy

Jun 25, 2015

Texas leads the United States in the production of wind power, largely in thanks to a state mandate that utilities source a certain amount of electricity from renewables.

Wind power provides 10 percent of the Lone Star State’s energy. The industry uses a combination of private investment for production and government subsidies for transmission lines.

But there’s a movement to repeal state subsidies for wind power. Reporter Lorne Matalon of Marfa Public Radio reports.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has given unanimous approval to a pair of bills that will end two separate tax subsidies for the wind industry inOklahoma.

With no debate, the Senate on Friday approved one bill to eliminate a 5-year property tax exemption for wind manufacturers, starting in 2017. Because the state reimburses counties for the revenue lost from the exemption, the cost of the subsidy has skyrocketed with the expansion of wind farms in Oklahoma. It's expected to cost the state about $44 million in the current fiscal year.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Oklahoma State Capitol
Joseph Novak / Flickr

There’s only about a month left in Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session, and if bills haven’t made it out of the chamber they started in by now, they’re dead.

Bob Kerr on his ranch near Carnegie, Okla., which is flanked by turbines from the Blue Canyon Wind Farm.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lawmakers have filed several measures targeting Oklahoma’s wind industry during the 2015 legislative session. The bills most likely to end up on the governor’s desk add regulation — like preventing new wind farms from being built near hospitals, schools and airports — and reduce wind energy tax credits.

Bob Kerr has lived on his Caddo County ranch for 43 years. The nearest tow, Carnegie, is home to about 1,700 people — a sprawling metropolis in southwestern Oklahoma

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