wind

Rocky Sun / Flickr.com

A district judge has ordered Osage County to approve a wind farm development.

The Board of Adjustment refused earlier this year to grant a permit for TradeWind Energy Inc.'s Mustang Run project, which would build 68 wind turbines in the northeastern Oklahoma county.

The Tulsa World reports the company sued the board, and District Judge Robert Haney sided with them on Wednesday.

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

Oklahoma is the nation's fourth-largest generator of wind energy. But wind developers in the northeast corner of the state, where the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve lies, are up against stiff opposition from an unlikely pair of allies: environmentalists and oil interests.

Bob Hamilton, director of the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, has been fighting to block construction of a 68-turbine wind farm.

Bob Hamilton, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: oil interests and environmentalists.

Wind farm developers encounter opposition wherever projects are planned, but the debate in Oklahoma is perhaps most magnified in Osage County, where there’s a confluence of money, government and prairie politics.

AMK713 / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal production tax credit on renewable energy production keeps expiring and getting renewed by Congress, creating a lot of uncertainty in the wind energy industry. Still, by the end of 2013, there were two new wind projects under construction in Oklahoma, and the national trend was toward wind.

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Solar panel and wind turbine technology is improving rapidly, and many small-scale customers are excited by the potential to generate electricity and sell it — outright, or for credit — back to the grid.

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A study commissioned by The Wind Coalition says developers have invested more than $6 billion in Oklahoma's wind energy industry.

The study released Wednesday says there are 26 active wind farms in the state. Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in the amount of wind energy generated for consumers. That's enough to power almost 770,000 homes each year.

Joe Bush, owner of a ranch near Shidler, Okla., has signed agreements to lease land for two wind farms. Bush worries a 2014 bill that would impose a moratorium on some wind-energy projects would prevent the wind farms from being built.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is one of the country’s top wind-energy producers, and companies want to build more turbines across the state.

For many landowners, wind farms can be a financial windfall. But as wind energy moves into regions unaccustomed to turbines, opponents have taken the fight to the state Capitol.

Gabriel Pollard / Flickr Creative Commons

Wind energy accounted for 14.8 percent of the electricity generated in Oklahoma in 2013, an American Wind Energy analysis of data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency show.

Oklahoma now ranks No. 7 nationally, a step up from the No. 9 ranking the state earned in 2012 when wind power comprised 10.5 percent of the state’s energy mix, according to the wind industry trade group.

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