Library from Oklahoma
A vote by Southwest Power Pool last week may have positioned Enid to become a player in the wind energy production industry. Southwest Power Pool's advisory committee, acting on a motion by Oklahoma Corporation Commission vice chairman Jeff Cloud, voted to support a package of six new transmission projects, four of which will be located in Oklahoma.
Hundreds of miles of transmission line proposed Tuesday will ease the flow of cheap power in and out of the city's main source of energy. Lubbock customers will pay an unknown share of the $1.4 billion in projects directors of the Southwest Power Pool proposed stretching through Oklahoma and Kansas. ...But the real target are the huge markets along each coast, he said.
There is no debate about it. The lesser prairie chicken and wind power farms do not mix. "They're genetically predisposed to avoid any vertical structures," said Russ Horton, a research supervisor with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. ...Officials still are concerned about the impact of wind farm development in Oklahoma's western counties.
As the U.S. wind industry develops alternative sources of power generation, a federal advisory committee has spent two years looking at ways to minimize the impact on wildlife and its habitat.
The wind power being spun out of northwest Oklahoma has a new path to the metro area. OG&E's new Windspeed transmission line passes near Watonga as it runs between Oklahoma City and Woodward. Photo provided Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. has turned on its new 121-mile transmission line stretching between Oklahoma City and Woodward, the company announced Tuesday.
Gall wasn't too worried about the power line that crossed the property - until he learned it soon could have lots of company. Woodward is on the verge of becoming the hub of the state's effort to harness its wind power potential, so utilities and developers are rushing to get high voltage power lines in place to handle the load.
Wind energy often is described as a win-win situation, but Gary Stocking said he sees "a sacrificial lamb" when it comes to developing transmission lines to carry the electricity harnessed by wind turbines. "The lamb is the landowner," Stocking said during a public meeting last week in Buffalo to discuss the development of transmission lines in Harper County.
A proposed project to build a high-voltage transmission line between Woodward and the Panhandle is expected to help Oklahoma harness one of its most recognizable assets: the wind that comes sweeping down the plain. Jaime McAlpine, president of Chermac Energy Corp. in Edmond, said the project is a necessary one if developers are going to build more wind farms in the state.
While it appeared briefly Monday that the lights were out on a proposed high-voltage electric transmission line that would serve the state's growing wind industry, officials recharged the plan Tuesday. The Southwest Power Pool Inc.'s board of directors on Tuesday included the $518 million "Spearville line" in a package of transmission expansion projects it was forwarding for further study and probable approval. The 765-kilovolt line would go from Spearville, the site of a wind farm in southwest Kansas, to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border, where it could hook into lines to other states.
If nothing else, the opposition is organized. While members of the U.S. Senate struggle to find the right language for the American Clean Energy and Security Act and the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, the opposition to both measures has grown larger and more vocal. ...In fact many industry leaders say the bills would kill jobs and wreck the economy. Across the country trade associations have lined up to stop the Waxman-Markey bill.
"This is such an important issue to the state, and the region, that we really need to get it on the list," said Phil Crissup, director of regional transmission affairs for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.
The preserve itself has grown to 39,100 acres. But that's only a fraction of the 3.8-million-acre region known as the Flint Hills, straddling the Oklahoma-Kansas state line with the largest remaining patch of tallgrass prairie on the continent. ...While wind power generates clean energy, the vast networks of turbines, roads and power grids can disturb a natural ecosystem just as much as any other industrialization, Hamilton says.
Nine landowners concerned about OG&E putting transmission lines in bar ditches along their land voiced complaints to the Woodward County Commission Monday, saying the county needed to hold the energy company accountable. ...According to another land owner, concrete bases 20 feet deep are being constructed to hold the poles for the transmission lines. Klick said, "These poles are 80 feet tall. They have a detrimental value to everybody's land."
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. has won the first two skirmishes in a legal battle with northwestern Oklahoma landowners over the utility's authority to have private property condemned for a high-voltage transmission line. The 112-mile-long, 345-kilovolt transmission line would be used to move electricity to the Oklahoma City area from wind farms near Woodward.
Two judges in northwestern Oklahoma have ruled for Oklahoma Gas and Electric in separate imminent domain cases over transmission lines. OG&E wants to build a 112-mile-long transmission line to carry electricity from wind farms near Woodward to Oklahoma City.
Purvine and John Oler, a landowner near Watonga, dispute that there was much negotiation. "They came to us and made an offer and said we would either take that offer or they would file eminent domain," Purvine said. "There was no recourse. That's the way it was." Oler, 64, said the OG&E representative essentially told him, "Do it our way, or we condemn you."
Conflict is brewing between Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and some northwestern Oklahoma landowners over OG&E's attempts to condemn property for a high-voltage transmission line to transport wind-generated electricity. "I have a neighbor with a pacemaker. He told me he will never be able to go on his property again," said Jimmie Purvine, 61, who is fighting condemnation of a 1 1/2 -mile long strip across his Dewey County property.
As wind use becomes more popular nationwide, landowners need to be aware of lease potentials and pitfalls. Corporate Learning at Oklahoma City Community College has received inquires from landowners who have requested information on how to negotiate a land lease. In response, OCCC and the Phillips Murrah Law firm joined forces to present the Wind Power for Landowners seminar.
Wind farm leasing in Oklahoma is a little like the Wild West. Experts say there's virtually no regulation and lots of opportunity for landowners to either profit or make deals they'll later regret. "It's very much a wildcatter's environment with a lot of speculation going on," said former Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, who now handles alternative energy legal issues in his job as an attorney with the Phillips Murrah law firm.
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted to secure millions of dollars for conservation projects with OG&E and Tulsa-based NatureWorks as well as set important hunting regulations and dates for new seasons on black bear, antelope, elk and others. At its April meeting, the Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with OG&E. Through the agreement, OG&E will invest $3.75 million to help offset the impact of the "OU Spirit" wind farm on lesser prairie chickens and other wildlife in northwest Oklahoma.