New study shows benefits of investment in wind include additional $2-billion in fuel cost savings to ratepayers.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – A new study commissioned by the State Chamber Research Foundation finds that the wind farms currently built or under contract in Oklahoma will provide a billion dollars in property taxes to counties and local schools over their life. The wind power generated will also save ratepayers of the state’s two largest utilities an estimated $2-billion in fuel costs. The report, titled Wind Energy Industry Impacts in Oklahoma, is researched and written by Dr. Shannon L. Ferrell and Joshua Conaway with Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.
“This report clearly shows that the Oklahoma’s investment in wind energy production is paying off,” said State Chamber President & CEO Fred Morgan. “A billion dollars in local tax revenue for counties and school districts with wind farms is crucial for these rural areas.”
That sentiment is echoed by Minco Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Sims who has a number of wind farms in his district.
“Wind Energy has had huge benefits for Minco Public Schools,” said Sims. “The added valuation to our school district has benefited our school and community greatly. We will open a brand new state of the art high school in 2015-1016, our community has a new water tower and our technology budget has been improved significantly. Without wind energy, we would not have seen the improvements we have been able to make so quickly.”
The private sector also benefits because after the initial investment, wind power requires no additional capital input to generate electricity. Andrew Silvestri, public policy and government relations manager for Google in Oklahoma City, says his company is dedicated to renewable energy.
“At Google, we’re striving to power our company with 100 percent renewable energy,” Silvestri said. “In addition to the environmental benefits, we see renewable energy as a business opportunity and continue to invest in accelerating its development. Oklahoma wind energy not only allows us to make our already highly-energy efficient Mayes County data center even more sustainable, it provides new renewable energy generation capacity to the grid that saves Oklahoma families hundreds of millions of dollars on their energy bills.”
According to Wind Coalition Executive Director Jeff Clark, the wind energy impact study showcases the benefits to the state and provides data that will be essential to decision makers guiding the state and planning for her future.
“Wind energy development is bringing huge economic benefits to Oklahoma communities and schools,” said Clark. “In addition to making the state more energy independent and lowering electricity prices for consumers, wind is adding jobs and significantly contributing to the tax base. Oklahoma is richly blessed with diverse energy resources. By harnessing those resources, the state is well-positioned to continue leading America in energy production, including in abundant, affordable wind power.”
The Wind Energy Industry Impacts in Oklahoma report can be found online by clicking here.
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About the State Chamber Research Foundation
The State Chamber Research Foundation is a research organization working in partnership with state business leaders, economists and university researchers to advance and fund activities in public policy research that promote the future of Oklahoma. The State Chamber of Oklahoma has had an affiliated research foundation since 1981. Over the last 30 years, the foundation (and its predecessors, Oklahoma 2000 and Oklahoma 21st Century) has been a critical voice for improving Oklahoma’s pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.okstatechamber.com.