OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed a measure to speed up the elimination of a tax credit that goes to the wind industry.
House Bill 2298, by Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus, sets the expiration date at July 1 rather than allowing it to continue until 2021.
The measure would prevent facilities that start producing after July 1 from claiming the credit. Wind projects completed before the sunset are eligible to claim the credit for up to 10 years.
Since the zero emission tax credit was created, its use grew to slightly more than $113 million in 2014 from nearly $3.7 million in 2010.
With the credit, the state has become a national leader in wind energy, Fallin said.
Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in total installed wind capacity, she said.
“The zero emissions tax credit was key to the growth of wind energy in Oklahoma, and I’m grateful to the industry for their ambitious successes, as well as their willingness to work with the state to address our challenging budgetary circumstances,” Fallin said. “Their leadership, along with the leadership of Speaker McCall and Senate Pro Tem Schulz, is a critical part of our continued investment in the future of our state. It is time to ensure that Oklahoma has a bright future, and continues its position as a prominent energy state.”
Officials expect to have $878 million less in crafting a fiscal year 2018 budget.
Schulz said the state could no longer afford the credit.
“Accelerating the end date of the wind-energy tax credit provides certainty for the industry and more predictability and stability long term in the state budget,” Schulz said. “This bill will save the state a significant amount of money moving forward, freeing up revenue that can be used on high priorities like education, public safety and health care.”
McCall said the bill will save taxpayers up to $500 million over the next 10 years.
“We would not be here today without the help of many wind development companies who recognized this credit is unsustainable and were willing to work with us on this legislation,” McCall said.