Articles filed under General from Oklahoma
Nearly every seat was filled Thursday at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's main courtroom as the agency took public comment on a cause filed by Public Service Co. of Oklahoma. The utility seeks preapproval to recover its costs associated to a large wind power and transmission project that will provide renewable energy to both its customers and those of a sister utility.
Transmission wires could end at substation in north Tulsa County
PSO is asking the commission to grant it preapproval to recover its share of the project costs from customers when Wind Catcher becomes operational in late 2020. Its share of the project is estimated at $1.36 billion, and in testimony filed in the case, PSO estimates the Wind Catcher project would add another $78 million to customer rates in 2021.
“We just hate the position that we are in. We hate that this project was commenced. We hate that there wasn’t competitive bidding, which is required by the rule, one or the other,” Hunter said near the end of his argument. “We hate that eight months elapsed from the [inception] of the project until the application was filed, so we’re all being put in a position of being leveraged. If these things aren’t approved in multiple states, this project isn’t going to go forward.”
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) hosted 11 community open houses across northern and central Oklahoma to collect valuable landowner and community input on preliminary study segments to help determine a power line route for the Wind Catcher Energy Connection.
Without comment, Corporation Commission Administrative Law Judge Mary Candler denied the attorney general's motion in a hearing Thursday morning. However, Candler approved another motion to have PSO pay for witness fees and other case costs for the attorney general's office, which represents consumers in utility cases.
In Friday's hearing, Assistant Attorney General Dara Derryberry said commission rules only allow preapproval for generation capacity. ...PSO couldn't ask for a waiver of competitive bidding rules because construction has already started on the wind farm. Commission rules allow a pre-construction review as an alternative to competitive bidding, but PSO didn't ask for that either, she said.
The motion, filed late Friday by Attorney General Mike Hunter's public utility division, said if the commission doesn't dismiss the case, it should make PSO pay for the attorney general's costs to represent Oklahoma consumers in the case. "...PSO's customers are at risk to bear the $1.36 billion cost of the Wind Catcher project if the commission grants PSO's requested relief."
To take maximum advantage of the federal production tax credit before it declined in 2017, project construction began last December.
On a sunny day last summer, in the middle of a vast cornfield somewhere in the large, windy middle of America, two researchers from the University of Tulsa stepped into an oven-hot, elevator-sized chamber within the base of a 300-foot-tall wind turbine. They’d picked the simple pin-and-tumbler lock on the turbine’s metal door in less than a minute and opened the unsecured server closet inside.
Construction is moving forward on a more-than $400 million wind farm project, despite the scheduled sunset of state wind tax credits.
The world’s biggest wind-turbine company has filed lawsuits against five rural governments because they stand between it and millions in tax subsidies.
The Osage Nation strongly opposes development of industrial wind farms. I write this column to explain our view from the spiritual perspective of our culture but also from the view of economics, health concerns, quality of life and the impact on natural habitats and wildlife.
The announcement comes a day after Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2298, which ends the zero-emissions tax credit for wind projects July 1, more than three years ahead of its previous sunset date.
Also hustled through the committee process Wednesday were a number of bills that would repeal tax incentives granted to the wind-energy industry over the years. In most cases, the bills would accelerate the expiration date to July 1 for incentives that were set to expire in four years.
An Oklahoma wind project in Canadian and Kingfisher County will not be completed by its deadline, according to an Apex Clean Line Energy official. Apex spokeswoman Davhi Wilson said construction with the Kingfisher Wind facility is ongoing, even though it was scheduled to be completed before the end of 2015.
Tradewind is prepared to proceed with construction of Mustang Run even though an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling is still pending. Completion of the project in 2016 would allow it to receive some significant state tax credits that are scheduled to expire at the end of next year.
Oklahoma may be the next state to remove incentives for renewable energy within the state. Senate Bill (SB) 498 would eliminate the state tax exemption for wind electricity manufacturers after 2016.
A House committee Tuesday passed Senate Bill 808 by a vote of 12-8. The bill would stop wind turbines being within 1.5 nautical miles of an airport, public school or hospital and put additional financial reporting requirements on wind developers for decommissioning old wind farms.
Oklahoma has quietly become the 4th largest wind producing state in America after jumping several states in the rankings over the past few years. The panhandle and the northeastern part of the state have been seen as promising areas for further development, with strong winds and nearby transmission lines that enable cheap, clean electricity.