OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of electricity generated from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association's annual report.
Wind provided more than 4 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. in 2013, according to the report.
More than 10.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity was generated by wind in Oklahoma, enough to power about one million homes. The state's wind capacity, the amount of electricity it is capable of generating from wind, was 3,134 megawatts, good for sixth place.
"Increasingly, America is powered by wind energy," said Tom Kiernan, the association's CEO. "As utilities and Americans become more familiar with this affordable and reliable energy source, they want more of it."
Uncertainty over the federal production tax credit, which was renewed at the beginning of 2013 but caused a delay in installations until the middle of that year, led to a drop of installed capacity nationwide.
The pipeline of wind projects began to fill back up in the second half of 2013, and the year ended with more than 12,000 megawatts under construction across the country, the association said.
Two wind projects were under construction in Oklahoma by the end of last year. Enel Green Power NA owns the 150-megawatt Origin wind farm planned for Murray and Carter counties in southern Oklahoma. TradeWind Energy Inc. started work on the 136-megawatt Mustang Run development in Osage County.
TradeWind CEO Rob Freeman said the company is excited about its Oklahoma projects. TradeWind recently announced power purchase agreements with the Grand River Dam Authority for Mustang Run and another wind farm, the 98-megawatt Breckinridge project near Enid. Last year, the company signed a power purchase agreement with Public Service Co. of Oklahoma for 200 megawatts from its Goodwell development in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
"We had a tremendous finish to 2013, and in Oklahoma specifically," Freeman said.
Including already operating wind farms, TradeWind expects to have about 700 megawatts of wind capacity in Oklahoma by 2015.
Kiernan said the wind industry's growth has benefited manufacturers, as well as provided lease payments to farmers and ranchers. But the association warned it could be at risk of another "boom-and-bust" cycle if Congress doesn't renew the renewable electricity production tax credit.
The incentive expired at the end of 2013 for the fifth time since it began in 1992.
AP Source: The Oklahoman