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Feb 22, 2015

LTE: Wind Incentives Work in Oklahoma

This Letter to the Editor was published in The Oklahoman on February 22, 2015.

Frank Robson (Point of View, February 13) missed the mark regarding the economic value of wind energy to Oklahoma. State tax incentives have indeed allowed wind development to grow over the past several years.

They have made Oklahoma competitive for investment, after years of losing valuable projects to neighboring states. The results are clear. Since 2003, wind developers have invested more than $6 billion in Oklahoma resulting in hundreds of quality jobs, and tens of millions of dollars paid each year to landowners and taxing jurisdictions, including school districts.

Most importantly, wind energy saves billions for Oklahoma’s electric consumers. And while a small amount of power is exported, the vast majority of wind power generated is available for use by Oklahomans.

Robson is an outspoken opponent of wind development who leads efforts to prevent others from enjoying their property rights, preventing them from developing the wind energy resources on their land. Incentives are offered to many types of businesses in the short term to attract their investment and bring long-term benefits.

Wind energy incentives deliver long-term benefits to the state’s economy. The figures promoted by Robson never acknowledge the long-term benefits, only the short-term costs. Wind energy developers, and the communities that seek wind investment, are working with state lawmakers to craft an incentive structure that keeps Oklahoma competitive while reducing impacts on the state budget. Inaccurate rhetoric from those seeking solely to stop wind development is detrimental to that process.

Jeff Clark, Austin, Texas Clark is executive director of The Wind Coalition (windcoalition.org).