Jump to content
Washington DC Message Boards

Oklahoma Wind Power Grows

Guest Julie Clendenin

Recommended Posts

Guest Julie Clendenin

Despite the overall uncertainty in the U.S. economy, Oklahoma’s winds are a powerful, homegrown resource that could generate economic growth across the state, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said this week.


AWEA’s announcement came as the association, which represents the national wind power industry, concluded a series of meetings at career technology education centers in Enid, Woodward and Lawton. AWEA representatives and several local partners spoke with state and local leaders about wind industry investment and job creation in Oklahoma.


“Oklahoma has a significant role to play as the nation looks to diversify our energy mix by tapping into plentiful domestic resources. And renewables, including wind, are critical for regaining our economic strength and our energy security, “said Susan Williams Sloan, AWEA’s Outreach Manager. The U.S. Department of Energy says that wind could provide 20% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030. “Wind power is affordable, reliable, doesn’t require fuel and doesn’t cause pollution,” Sloan added.


With more than 82,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy potential, Oklahoma is one of the top 10 windy states and already has several operating wind farms capturing a very small fraction of that potential to electrify 190,000 homes.


Over the next five years, Oklahoma utilities are looking to dramatically increase the amount of power that they get from wind farms:


* Public Service Company of Oklahoma plans to purchase 200 MW of wind power by 2010.

* Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. (OG&E) hopes to add 600 MW of wind capacity by 2012 along with the transmission necessary to deliver that power to its customers.

* The University of Oklahoma plans to purchase 100% of its electricity from wind power by 2013 through an agreement with OG&E. A 100-MW wind farm is being planned to meet that commitment.


The Southwest Power Pool, which coordinates electricity delivery for southwestern states, is evaluating about 5,000 MW of new wind projects for Oklahoma as well as the need for transmission upgrades to deliver the electricity produced by those projects. With new, upgraded transmission infrastructure in place, Oklahoma’s wind-generated electricity could become a major resource for the South, as excess electricity could be sold to consumers in other states.


“As the state’s wind industry grows, it will create jobs and investment in rural Oklahoma,” said Phil Berkinbile, State Director of the Oklahoma CareerTech system . “We’re ready for an economic boom -- and the state career tech system will be there to provide core training and education for the specialized workforce of one of Oklahoma’s most promising industries of the future.”


Wind energy-related manufacturing is already creating jobs for Oklahoma. One wind turbine tower manufacturer – DMI Industries – will add about 250 new jobs to its existing Tulsa plant by mid 2009. DMI already employs more than 200 Oklahomans, including skilled workers like welders.


Tim Eraker, an Iraq War veteran who has worked at the Tulsa plant since it opened, takes pride in his company’s role in the new energy economy. “I like working for a company that cares about the environment and cares enough about the energy crisis to do something about it,” he explained.


The U.S. wind power industry employs some 50,000 people in the U.S. and is adding another 10,000 new domestic jobs by the end of 2008, making it a growing bright spot in the U.S. economy. Since January 2007, more than 50 new wind industry manufacturing plants have opened or been announced in virtually every region of the country, adding employees to the domestic workforce every day as the wind industry ramps up to provide 20% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...