Oklahoma holds high wind energy production marks

Oklahoma was among four states nationwide to generate at least 30 percent of the electricity produced inside state borders last year, according to a new industry report.

The report published by the American Wind Energy Association shows that Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota achieved that mark for 2017. Oklahoma ranked second in the country behind Texas for its nearly 7,500 megawatts electricity generating capacity provided through wind farms, The Oklahoman reported.

The report says that the electrical generating capacity of wind farms grew last year by 9 percent nationally and by 13 percent in Oklahoma.

The association’s chief executive, Tom Kiernan, said the sustained growth continues to show that wind energy is “powering forward” to deliver clean, reliable electricity nationwide.

“We are on our way to producing 10 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2020,” Kiernan said. “There is nothing alternative about wind energy, today.”

Mark Yates is the Oklahoma director of the Wind Coalition. He said the industry has made significant strides in growing its generating capacity, especially in Oklahoma.

“Wind was responsible for about 33 percent of the electricity generated inside Oklahoma in 2017, and it is truly a remarkable story for an industry that, just a decade ago, was in its beginning, developmental stages.”

He said Oklahoma should focus on recruiting potential users of the energy to the state.

“We can offer the energy that Fortune 500 companies around the United States desire,” said Yates. “We should recruit as many off-takers and manufacturing plants to Oklahoma, as possible.”