Climbing Ranks, Oklahoma Now Ranks Fourth in U.S. Wind Power Capacity

  • Joe Wertz
A line of wind turbines dot a stormy horizon in Oklahoma.

oakleyoriginals / flickr

A line of wind turbines dot a stormy horizon in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma “leapfrogged” Oregon and Illinois after adding 648 megawatts of wind-generated electricity capacity in 2014, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports.

Oklahoma now has 3,782 megawatts of wind capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and is expected to add another 2,000 megawatts “in the next year or so, as many wind farms under construction come online.”

Four wind farms came online in Oklahoma last year, including three owned by NextEra Energy Resources LLC: Mammoth Plains in Dewey and Blaine counties and two developments at Seiling. TradeWind Energy started operations at its 150-megawatt Origin project in Murray and Carter counties.

Oklahoma’s wind industry has boomed in recent years. In 2013, the state also ranked fourth in total wind power production — a different metric than capacity — behind Texas, Iowa and California.

But Oklahoma’s wind industry is facing resistance from landowners who say they’re concerned about diminished property values as well as the nuisance and safety questions posed by spinning turbines. Tribes and conservationists have objected to wind farms, too, and have raised alarms about impacts on wildlife and oil and gas production.

State regulators are considering new wind industry rules, and lawmakers have pledged to re-examine wind industry tax credits and economic incentives with legislation filed for the 2015 legislative session, which starts Feb. 2.