Library filed under General from Oklahoma
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 normal house uses approximately 3,000 kilowatts a month," Travis said at the time. "The generator will produce approximately 1,000 to 1,200 kilowatts a month at eight mile per hour winds, based on an eight-hour day." But that has not been the case for Lingenfelter's turbine, which has produced only about 770 kilowatts of power since it was first activated June 1 ..."It's far underperformed."
OGE Energy Corp. is ready to catch more air. The company announced Tuesday its subsidiary, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., is seeking proposals from wind power developers to provide up to 300 more megawatts of wind-generated power by late 2010.
Customers who have decided to participate in the greener energy alternative will be paying 2.8 cents more per kilowatt hour used. The increase will take effect starting with Jan. 2009 billing. Duncan Power Electric Utility Director David Yeager said the adjustment is one that is necessary to continue providing the option to Duncan Power members.
In late May, the first shipment of 80-foot wind tower sections produced at the DMI Industries plant in Catoosa hit the road, headed for a wind farm project in northern Texas.
"We're taking the holistic approach," she said, adding that the department is also working with Oklahoma's two largest electricity utility companies, OG&E and PSO, to help further the companies' efforts to increase the percentage of their power that comes from wind. And if that's not enough, The State Chamber is directing traffic to both the Commerce Web site and another industry resource, Windustry.org. Windustry, a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota, provides educational materials, an information hotline, outreach events and more to promote the development of wind power.
"Make no mistake, this is all about the production and the money," said Greg Adams, a technical consultant who develops wind farms for Edmond-based Chermac Energy Corp. "I can build a wind farm anywhere in the state of Oklahoma. To make it profitable is another story. None of these wind farms get built unless they have a return on investment. That's what investors are looking for." What makes a good location?
Piedmont officials want to know how badly residents want to fight plans by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to construct a 345,000-volt power line through the fastest growing part of the city, Mayor Mike Fina said. At a Monday night town hall meeting at Piedmont First Baptist Church, more than 400 people filled out surveys after listening to presentations by OG&E officials and engineers, Fina said. OG&E plans by 2010 to build a 120-mile power line from wind farms south of Woodward to just south of NW 164 between Rockwell Avenue and Council Road.
Landowners are getting lucrative offers to lease land to build turbines for an energy source.
The wind is free, but the cost of harnessing its power doesn't come cheaply. Each wind turbine can cost more than $1 million. Transporting the power from western Oklahoma to the population centers is even more expensive. Texas, for example, is investing almost $5 billion to create its own transmission system.
Landowners along a proposed 120-mile wind power line that cuts through Kingfisher and Canadian counties are planning more meetings to discuss possible legal action against Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., a spokesman for concerned landowners said. About 100 people attended a two-and-a-half-hour meeting at Rose Rock Bank in Kingfisher on Tuesday night. Many who attended said they were not notified in advance of past public meetings sponsored by OG&E concerning the planned line. Brent Snider, who is building a house northwest of Okarche near the proposed line, said ..."We are going to meet with a lawyer and we are going to get a fund going for a lawyer,"
While most people are for developing this kind of green energy, landowners who are being told the transmission lines will cut across their land or run near their homes suddenly aren't so enthusiastic. In Kingfisher this week, residents expressed concerns about their rights as far as easements go and also are worried about any negative health consequences of the transmissions lines being nearby. Kingfisher officials say the lines will scrap a plan to build a city airport. Piedmont officials say the route of the lines divides their city.
Landowners along a proposed 120-mile Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. power line should join together to oppose the line, a Woodward landowner said at a meeting Tuesday. Candyce Kline of Woodward was one of about 60 people concerned with the route of the proposed power line from Woodward to northwest Oklahoma City to be built by 2010 by OG&E. Rate payers would see an increase of about $1.50 on electric bills to pay for the line, which will deliver power from wind turbines.
Northwest Oklahoma has been a location for oil and gas activity for years, but it also may be the home for the next big energy strike - wind energy. At least four companies currently are negotiating for leases to erect wind turbines to provide wind energy. GE, TradeWind Energy, Wind Energy Prototypes and Renewable Energy Systems are working in the northwest Oklahoma area, with a number of leases obtained in the Breckinridge, Garber and Hunter areas. Sources at Trade Winds Energy said there also has been interest in Grant County. Garfield County Clerk Kathy Hughes said there have been more than 40 memos of lease recorded in her office. ..."We're looking at northwest and north central Oklahoma, obviously because there is wind here," Arb said. "A wind farm needs three key elements to be present: wind, transmission capacity to get the electricity to market and community acceptance.
If a proposed transition line from Woodward to Guymon runs through Mead Ferguson's north Woodward County land, he thinks that is just fine. ...Mead was among 60 to 70 people who attended the first of four open houses offered by Oklahoma Gas and Electric. The meeting was held at the Josie Adams Cultural Center and was intended to act as an open exchange between the public and company executive with regard to a planned transmission line construction project that could impact land owners here. ...The transmission lines have been planned by the company to address an historic lack of transmission needed to carry the additional electricity that is produced by wind turbines here.
OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said preliminary discussions with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation about developing a wind farm generating plant on the Cooper Wildlife Management Area northwest of Woodward have been dropped. The announcement came after about three months of sometimes contentious discussions by local environmentalists and sportsmen, some of whom opposed the wind farm near Fort Supply. Alford said the original idea was to develop the wind energy farm on the wildlife area and provide income for the department of wildlife management. However, local activists found strong opposition which came from not only residents and sportsmen, but also from OG&E employees who also expressed concern.
Opponents to expanding wind energy on public land are voicing their opinions, and sometimes in a loud manner. About 50 of those opponents met Wednesday with OG&E Electric Services and Department of Wildlife Conservation officials to discuss concerns about expanding Centennial Wind Farm north of Fort Supply onto Cooper Wildlife Management Area. It is a scenario OG&E says will not happen. In light of growing local and statewide opposition and concern by wildlife organizations about the impact to the region's natural habitat, OG&E has declined to pursue the development of any wind energy on public land, officials said.
The wind that comes sweeping down Oklahoma's plains isn't powering nearly as many Edmond homes as it could be, officials say, even though signing up for the service is as easy as filling out a one-page online form. ...Since the inception of the wind power program in 2004, Edmond Electric has advertised it as a "pure and simple" option for customers, saying that using 100 kilowatt hours - enough to power 100 light bulbs for 100 hours - of wind energy per month for a year has the same environmental benefit as planting a third of an acre of trees or not driving a car for 1,800 miles. But Edmond residents don't seem to be buying into the idea. ...In the end, Edmond Electric plans to continue to offer wind power despite the low subscriber numbers. "Some of our customers have a real interest in an environmentally good power supply," Burgett said. "We'll continue to meet our customers' desires."