Articles from Oklahoma
WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Hinton, Oklahoma, just west of Oklahoma City, has been sued by a wind energy group to build wind turbines in their town because of an ordinance they passed that they thought was unconstitutional.
The Oklahoma Attorney General and the director of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Public Utility Division stated in a regulatory filing late Monday they remain opposed to Public Service Co. of Oklahoma's request to obtain preapproval to recover costs to build the Wind Catcher Connection project.
The OSBI has found new evidence linking a wind energy group to the political consultant who had a state legislator tracked, The Oklahoman has learned. ...McBride, R-Moore, has blamed the wind industry ever since finding a GPS tracker on his pickup the evening of Dec. 4. McBride has been an outspoken critic of the wind industry and has called for wind farms in Oklahoma to pay more in taxes.
With SB 888 failing to advance Monday, lawmakers committed to ending the wind tax credit refundability could turn their attention to HB 3716, a bill that surfaced Friday. HB 3716 eliminates the refundability but allows companies to retain the credits for 20 years to decrease their Oklahoma tax liabilities.
Senate Bill 888 would not abolish zero emission tax credits, but would make them no longer refundable. That means wind companies could still use the income tax credits to offset taxes they might owe. However, once that tax liability goes down to zero, they would no longer be able to turn the remaining tax credits back to the Tax Commission and receive 85 cents on the dollar from the state treasury.
SB 888 eliminates the refundability of tax credits for renewable energy generation. The state stopped issuing new credits several years ago, and the state is already scheduled to phase out the program altogether by 2027. Zeroing out the refundability feature could save the state as much as $750 million from 2020, when SB 888 takes effect, until 2027, Coody said.
What is known so far is that the deal would place a $1 per megawatt hour tax on the production of wind energy, but only for new projects. The proposal also will include what's been dubbed "section nine," a guarantee that the gross production tax will expire if a future Legislature tries to eliminate or cap the industry's incentives.
About 100 people heard diverse viewpoints on wind energy at an Osage County Board of Adjustment public hearing Thursday, but the board approved a conditional use permit for the next wind farm to be built in the Tallgrass Prairie region with little fanfare.
"If we don't do something truly meaningful this session, not next session, another $70 million is literally going to be gone with the wind," Brecheen said. The senator said the bill would end corporate welfare payments, not by eliminating the tax credit, but by eliminating the refundability aspect of it.
Giving teachers in Oklahoma a raise is past due. WindWaste was established on the premise that more funding for education was critical, and the industry that has profited most in recent years from Oklahoma subsidies should contribute.
“For us, it means significant amounts of ad valorem tax,” said Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director. “Normally, with a wind farm, they pay about $10,000 per year, per megawatt installed. If you have one megawatt out there, they’re going to pay $10,000 a year in ad valorem tax. And, in our county, about half of that goes to the school district in which that wind farm is located, and the other half is split between the career tech, the county and the county health department.”
Across 300,000 acres (121,206 hectares) utility giant American Electric Power Co. is trying to pull off something no other company has attempted at this scale: It wants to build the nation’s largest wind farm -- and it wants up-front guarantees from regulators that customers will pay the bill.
"This legislation goes a long way toward protecting and enhancing our number one asset, which is our airspace," Cooper said. "It wasn't about having no wind power. It was about protecting our airspace." Cooper said the bill was crafted with close cooperation between the military, wind industry and Legislature.
Several residents near Weatherford caught video of a wind turbine on fire on Wednesday afternoon.
If the state has been reimbursing county school districts for wind’s ad valorem taxes, then this has not expanded the total funds to school districts at all; it has just forced the state to transfer dollars from the General Revenue Fund that otherwise would have been earmarked for school districts across the state to those rural districts near wind facilities. Robbing Peter to pay Paul does nothing to help education.
A clean energy company dropped out of The Wind Coalition this year after a legislator made accusations about a tracking device found on his pickup, The Oklahoman has learned.
Legislative panels on Thursday passed House Bill 3710, which would put a $35 million cap on the zero emission tax credit. Last year, lawmakers decided to sunset the tax credit in 10 years for new production. The clock began ticking July 1.
Two bills, one in the House and another in the Senate, have proposed capping the state's zero emission tax credit. In 2016, Oklahoma paid $74 million in zero emission tax credits, which the legislature is proposing to cap at $5 million or $10 million.
The company has agreed to buy energy from PSO’s Wind Catcher project to power many of its stores
Yates said the legislators don’t understand that the tax credits were built into the business models when the wind industry companies won state approval to build wind farms in Oklahoma. “These projects are not profitable for the first 12 years of existence,” he explained. The Wind Coalition leader said for the state to go back and change the rules “of the game so dramatically after these projects are already up and spinning, the investment is there and now to go back in and change is devastating.”