The Oklahoma Senate has overwhelmingly voted yes on a bill that would move up the sunset date of the state’s wind power tax credits to July 1.
H.B.2298, authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, passed the Senate by a vote of 40-3, according to a press release from Schulz.
“The zero-emissions tax credit did what it was supposed to do: help the wind industry get off the ground in Oklahoma,” says Schulz.
“Our state ranks third in the nation in terms of wind power and will likely remain among the leaders in wind power for the foreseeable future. The state is facing extraordinary budget challenges, and we can no longer afford the zero-emissions tax credit,” he continues. “This measure provides certainty to the wind industry and stability in the long term for the state budget. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for overwhelmingly approving this measure.”
As pointed out recently by David K. Burton and Binyomin Koff from law firm Mayer Brown LLP, the legislation would end the tax credits three-and-a-half years earlier than current law. Notably, the Jan. 1, 2021, sunset for other zero-emissions projects, such as solar and geothermal, would remain in place; however, the “vast majority of zero-emission energy production” in the state comes from wind power, they said.
The bill, having already passed the Oklahoma house, now goes to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin – who first proposed the early sunset in her 2018 executive budget.
In a statement, Jeffrey Clark, president of The Wind Coalition, says, “If it chooses to do so, Oklahoma can be a leader in the energy development that will drive our nation’s economy in the decades ahead. That includes natural gas, wind energy, solar power and energy storage. While the path ahead for Oklahoma remains unclear, we look forward to working with state leaders to help them develop a plan to keep Oklahoma competitive for future investment.”