The U.S. is expected to have added about 5 gigawatts of wind-generated electricity capacity in 2014, estimates from the federal Energy Information Agency show. Officials expect even more growth — up to an additional 11 GW — in 2015, with most of the added capacity coming from five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.
Oklahoma offers tax incentives for wind energy developers, the use of which has grown in recent years and drawn the scrutiny of state lawmakers. But Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague tells The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo that Oklahoma’s installations “are more closely tied to federal production tax rates of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour”:
“For us it is a business decision,” Teague said. “We want wind because it is good for our utilities and electricity rates. It’s good for rural counties because of the ad-valorem taxes generated.”
Oklahoma will see a jump in total generating capacity by the spring of 2015, Teague said. The state has 3,100 megawatts of wind power capacity, and it is expected to grow by 2,100 MW by the spring. Electricity from wind farms makes up 15 percent of all power in the state.
“Whether it is wind, gas or coal, the conversation needs to start at the cost of our electricity rates,” Teague said. “Not just for the cost of living, but to promote business and economic development.”