Articles filed under General from Oklahoma
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."
The Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. wants to lease or buy from the state Department of Wildlife Conservation a portion of the Cooper Wildlife Management Area in northwest Oklahoma for its power-generating wind turbines. It's curious that state wildlife commissioners would consider such a proposal when state wildlife officials have been clamoring that more public hunting land is needed in Oklahoma. ...At issue for state wildlife commissioners is to what extent would numerous wind turbines disturb wildlife on Cooper? And what kind of policy would they be creating if they choose to lease Cooper for a wind farm? No doubt, other WMAs in western Oklahoma such as Beaver, Sandy Sanders and Packsaddle will be targeted for wind energy as well. Sue Selman of Buffalo, president of Save The Prairie and an owner of the historic Selman Ranch north of Woodward, is against any wind turbines on Cooper. ..."Placing wind turbines on the Cooper Wildlife Management Area will fragment and destroy a large quantity of (wildlife) habitat," she said. "It's a gross injustice to our part of the state, to wildlife and to hunting."
Energy experts will produce a final report on Oklahoma's future in wind power by April, at no cost to the state. The results of the study could be used to draw wind energy wildcatter companies to Oklahoma, the so-called "Saudi Arabia of Wind." Kansas had paid $50,000 for a similar study, but regional transmission organization Southwest Power Pool has agreed to provide the information to Oklahoma for free as part of its efforts to map out wind power transmission for the entire region. As part of a 10-year, $1.4 billion transmission expansion plan for the region, SPP is working on a project known as the X Plan, which will build wind generation capacity throughout the Central and South Plains area in the shape of an "x," taking in much of Oklahoma's northwestern panhandle.
Plans to quadruple OG&E's wind power production and start a trasmission line project to make renewable power available to Oklahoma's population centers were announced Tuesday by OG&E Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Pete Delaney. ...Alford stressed that wind energy cannot replace coal-fire and natural gas power generation. He said that typically wind power was only available 40 percent of the time. Wind also tends to blow less in high temperatures and cannot serve to provide base-load or 24-hour power production. "You have to have traditional fossil fuel generation," Alford said.
For $50,000, Oklahoma can get the same kind of comprehensive study Kansas got from Southwest Power Pool on the state's wind power resource. The plan could be finished by spring 2008 and would provide the guidance state leaders need to form a plan for new electricity generation and transmission upgrades. ...Bary K. Warren, director of transmission policy and compliance for the Empire District Electric Co. in Joplin, Mo., cautioned the group to keep projections for future wind generation development modest. Companies may put out press releases indicating their intent to build future capacity, but unforeseen developments may significantly limit the amount of wind generation that actually gets built, he said.
OGE Energy Corp is prepared to build a new high-voltage transmission line to accelerate development of wind generation in Oklahoma, the utility company chief executive said on Tuesday. Oklahoma City-based OG&E Electric Services said new transmission is needed to unlock the potential for power to flow from future wind farms in the western part of the state to populated cities in the east. Chief Executive Officer Pete Delaney said OG&E, Oklahoma's largest electric utility, plans to significantly increase its wind production from 170 megawatts to 770 MW over the next five years to meet increased customer demand for renewable power.
"The significant amount of wind in western Oklahoma is a largely untapped resource that is in increasing demand in Oklahoma and across the nation," Delaney said in a statement. "We have been working on plans for some time now to significantly increase OG&E's wind power production over the next four years." ...Greene said concerns raised in other states about the aesthetics of the giant wind turbines or the environmental impact on migratory birds are minimal in western Oklahoma, where communities with vast expanses of land are desperate for economic development. "It's interesting that there hasn't been a lot of negatives about wind in Oklahoma"...
The Oklahoma panhandle has plenty of wind power-generating capacity, and more capacity is scheduled for the near future. Now if there was only a way to get all that power onto the electricity grid. Members of the Oklahoma Electric Power Transmission Task Force on July 9 discussed the pressing need for improvements to the state's transmission infrastructure, particularly near Oklahoma's "wind farms." The problem is finding a company willing to invest in a project that may or may not yield a sizable return......Even if SPP agrees that the expenditures for new transmission for wind power in the area can be classified as improvements made for the sake of reliability, due to the unpredictability of wind power generation, the organization will give only a 10-percent accreditation for wind power. Warren said there have been days when the wind just doesn't blow. "Sometimes we got zero megawatts out of a 150-megawatt wind farm," he said, adding that his company couples wind power with more reliable generation sources. The situation puts investors at high risk, said Lepard. "You can get back 10 percent, but you have to build a line capable of handling the whole thing," said Lepard.
Westbound drivers along Intertstate 40 can't help but crane their necks at the site of dozens of wind generators that have gone up on both sides of the interstate in western Oklahoma.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Consumers who purchase wind turbines to provide electricity for their homes would get a tax break under a bill approved Tuesday by the Oklahoma Senate. Under the bill, consumers could get a 40 percent tax credit on the cost of a wind turbine. Critics said it was not economically feasible for most homeowners since the average cost of a wind turbine for home use is about $50,000. Some objected to the bill because it also gives the same tax credit to solar energy devices. Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, called the bill "irresponsible."
Oklahoma has long been known for its abundant reserves of oil and gas, but Norman-area lawmakers want to add wind power to the list of leading energy sources. Already, 420 towering wind turbines in western Oklahoma provide about 3 percent of the state's electricity, according to the Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative, a joint project of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.