Articles from Oklahoma
On July 2, the Public Utility Commission of Texas denied a request by AEP affiliate Southwestern Electric Power Co. to use its Texas customers' rates to finance the acquisition of a giant wind farm complex in Oklahoma ...The three-member Texas commission said the project didn't lay out clear enough benefits to consumers to justify their up-front investment. While some big companies have championed renewable energy, the farm had been opposed by major Texas consumer groups.
AEP has received three of the five necessary approvals for its planned $2 billion investment — from Oklahoma, Arkansas and FERC — and expects decisions in May or June from regulators in Louisiana and Texas.
AEP will need approval from regulators in all four states where the new wind generation will serve customers, as well as sign-off from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But to bolster its case, the company said it can scale the amount of generation acquired by PSO or SWEPCO, subject to commercial limitations, "to align with individual state resource needs as determined by the respective state commissions."
Renewable energy companies and Rep. Kevin West (R-Moore) are set to hold an Aug. 1 meeting at the Oklahoma State Capitol in an attempt to formulate a standardized property tax valuation system for wind farms. School districts and county officials are also expected to participate in the ongoing negotiation process, which seeks to put an end to the disagreements over wind project valuation that routinely cause lawsuits.
A new rule takes effect Aug. 1 that will provide the Oklahoma Corporation Commission with additional dollars to help regulate the development of wind energy resources in the state.
“Most failure incidents of wind turbine towers are due to a combination of factors, among which extreme wind is identified as the most common,” says a detailed study of 48 tower collapses between 2000 and 2016 soon to be published by academics from the engineering department at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
The latest incident follows the collapse in February of a GE turbine at the Casa Mesa Wind Energy Center in eastern New Mexico, which only entered commercial operation in the fourth quarter of last year. The US OEM said then that it would investigate what it believed to be “an isolated incident”.
A wind turbine at the Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla., collapsed Tuesday May 21, 2019. Enel Green Power North America, which owns the turbine, is working to determine why it fell. Access to the site was blocked for safety reasons as of Wednesday May 22, 2019.
The developer pulled the plug on the 220MW Minco V project near Hinton and the 250MW Crowder project in Washita County. NextEra had already agreed with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office in October that it would stop construction of Minco V.
Plans were dropped Friday to build two west-central Oklahoma wind energy projects, including one that had been paused by potential litigation over concerns it would interfere with low-level military training air routes, their developer announced Friday. ...Scrapped projects are the 220-megawatt Minco V wind farm and a 250-megawatt Crowder wind farm.
House Bill 2118 updates existing law by adding language that prohibits a wind developer from building turbine towers or other structures that also need federal approvals until those have been issued and filed with appropriate authorities at both the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. It also authorizes the Corporation Commission to assess an administrative penalty of up to $1,500 a day, per violation, against any developers who violate that prohibition.
A Determination of No Hazard and mitigation plan for any adverse impacts to military airspace must be submitted to the Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission before wind turbine construction starts. The bill specifies a $1,500 penalty per day, per turbine, for any new construction that doesn't meet the new guidelines, and sets administrative rules for resolving disputes over turbine projects.
According to the Duke Energy managing director of business development, Graham Furlong, 105 locations for the turbines have been approved by the FAA. The plan is to narrow it down to a more specific plan by the summer, and begin installation by the fall. However, many residents who are nestled in between the proposed sites or live in the surrounding area are finding out about the planned farm for the first time.
Once the five years of exemptions are over, wind companies have been sending lawyers to county courthouses to file tax protests and lawsuits contending the value of their equipment is worth hundreds of millions of dollars less than the values assigned to them by county assessors. Wind industry representative claim they have good cause for their tax protests.
Two controversial wind energy bills that could be heard this legislative session calls for stripping companies' tax incentives and making them pay a new tax. Critics say the bills raise red flags for future business in Oklahoma.
The legislator has always suspected the president of The Wind Coalition, a trade organization. McBride has been an outspoken critic of the wind industry and has called for wind farms in Oklahoma to pay more in taxes. The Wind Coalition president, Jeff Clark, has denied any involvement in the tracking.
OSMPC contends the wind farm violates a recent amendment to the Wind Energy Development Act. The changes to the law require a determination by the federal government that planned wind turbine construction has no military impact, or the company must have an approved mitigation plan from the Defense Department, before a wind farm is constructed or expanded.
The federal government later joined the legal battle on behalf of the tribe, claiming the excavation work was mining and therefore required a lease. It lost its original case but won in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found Osage Wind was engaged in mining without a lease.
While people like the idea of wind power, few are eager to have wind farms near their homes. This is true not only in conservative rural Oklahoma, but locations across the nation. Writing at City Journal, Robert Bryce notes that the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates this year in “deep-blue Vermont” favored renewable energy “in principle” but opposed new wind energy development.
On July 9, the Rock Falls Wind Farm filed appeals of the ad valorem tax assessment in the district courts of Grant County (CV-2018-11) and Kay County (CV-2018-55). John Robertson, executive director of the BEDA, told the Journal Tribune that while the ad valorem will be be paid every year, EDF, the parent company for the Rock Falls project and is a subsidiary of Électricité de France, which is owned by the country of France, is still challenging the assessment value of the project in court with the assessors.