OKLAHOMA: Despite Deceptive Attacks by Anti-Wind Activists, Wind Energy Community Stands by SB 498

OKLAHOMA CITY – Despite a negative and deceptive campaign launched by anti-economic development and anti-property rights activists, a measure awaiting final approval in the Oklahoma Senate represents a solid compromise between the legislature and the wind energy community. SB 498 helps to address a portion of the state budget deficit while allowing Oklahoma to compete for future wind development projects, the executive director of The Wind Coalition, an advocacy group representing Oklahoma wind developers, manufacturers, and customers, said today.

“Over the last several days the wind industry and many Senate and House members who support SB 498 have been under constant bombardment by anti-wind groups and individuals whose sole purpose is to use scare tactics and dishonest rhetoric to create controversy over legislation they do not agree with. As participants in the discussion of these issues, they know that SB 498 was negotiated for many weeks in good faith between legislative leaders, wind opponents and the wind energy community,” Jeff Clark said.

SB 498 is awaiting approval of a House amendment that will allow wind development projects currently in production or put into production by January 1, 2017 to complete their five-year ad valorem exemption under current law. After the five-year exemption, projects pay the property tax for the remainder of their life making wind projects an incredibly valuable economic development tool for rural communities.

“The anti-wind crowd is misleading the public in a last ditch effort to derail this important compromise. In order to substantially aid the state budget deficit, the wind industry conceded the full, 100% phase out of the five-year ad valorem exemption after next year. In exchange, the state will allow the zero emission (PTC) tax credit to stay intact until its full phase out in 2020 in order to keep Oklahoma competitive with neighboring wind-producing states. After 2020, no current incentives will remain eligible for use by wind energy developers in Oklahoma.”

Since 2003, the wind industry has invested over $6 billion in Oklahoma and is a key component of Oklahoma’s economic development and energy portfolio. The benefits are real and impressive. County governments and school districts receive over $40 million annually in sales and property tax revenue, and rural landowners receive $30 million each year in royalty payments. In addition, wind energy produces nearly 20% of Oklahoma’s electricity and provides commercial and residential customers with lower utility bills and long-term price stability. Wind energy also consumes no water which in drought-stricken Oklahoma equates to over 2.3 billion gallons saved per year.

“Despite the tidal wave of misleading and negative rhetoric, The Wind Coalition and its members are fully supportive of SB 498 and commend legislative leaders for their good-faith negotiations to keep Oklahoma competitive for economic development and investment. Nobody is ever fully happy with a compromise, however compromises are a vital component of the legislative process and we are proud to have been a participant.”

Contact:  Jeff Clark, The Wind Coalition, 512.651.0291