Wind Energy Construction Boom Fueled By Threat of Expiring Federal Tax Credit

  • Joe Wertz
The 147-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center.

Travel Aficionado / Flickr

The 147-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center.

The looming Dec. 31 expiration of the federal production tax credit for renewable energy helped drive a last-minute rush to start construction on wind energy projects around the country and in Oklahoma.

Developers had to start construction by 2013 to qualify, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports, “but the wind industry fears another bust if the credit isn’t renewed.”

Oklahoma developers didn’t finish any wind farms in 2013, but the state remains in sixth place for wind capacity with 3,134 megawatts. Two Oklahoma wind farms began construction in the fourth quarter: TradeWind Energy’s 141-megawatt Osage County development and Enel Green Power NA’s 150-megawatt Origin wind farm in Murray and Carter counties.

Public Service Co. of Oklahoma signed three power-purchase agreements for nearly 600 megawatts of wind from three new projects to be constructed in Oklahoma. Several out-of-state utilities — including those in Georgia, Arkansas, Nebraska and Texas — also took advantage of low prices and signed long-term contracts totaling 700 megawatts with Oklahoma wind developers.