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Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


Oklahoma Wind Farms Bring Millions In Local Tax Revenue

February 5th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon

Wind Projects In Oklahoma Are Bringing In Hundreds Of Millions In Tax Revenue For Rural Communities

A new study from Oklahoma State University has found that wind energy projects in the western part of the state are bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue into local county coffers and school districts — while also increasing the state’s energy independence.

Wind energy companies have reportedly paid almost $134 million in ad valorem taxes in the state since 2004 — thereby boosting the economic resources of a great many rural counties, according to Shannon Ferrell, a professor in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

As an example, Roger Mills County (population a little more than 3,700) has received the biggest boost in property tax dollars to date, having received around $25.9 million from the wind energy industry so far.

A press release on the subject provides more:

Woodward County was second highest with $13.1 million from the wind industry, but Ferrell predicts those revenues will swell to $166.8 million over the lifetime of its wind farms. Garfield County has fared well, too, picking up $6.9 million in taxes from the farms. Ferrell estimates the county will see $69.1 million in revenue from wind systems.

Ferrell said his study is the first to measure the impact of the fast-growing wind industry on more rural counties, and how it co-exists with other key sectors vying for the same space. He hopes the study helps lawmakers shape policy decisions, he said.

Even as oil and gas companies close wells due to plunging prices, the wind industry thrives, Ferrell told a roomful of people Tuesday at an event put on by the Association of Energy Engineers and the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council.

“Having these turbines in rural areas really makes an impact on those county budgets,” Ferrel stated. “I think that’s the biggest sign that wind has arrived in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma currently receives roughly 17% of its electricity via wind energy projects. There are around 2153 wind turbines currently operational there.

Image: wind turbines in Oklahoma by Marcy Reiford (some rights reserved)

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  • Preston C.

    This is probably the only good thing about my state… $1 billion deficit, school funding cuts, extremely low teacher salary, earthquakes caused by fracking, “Worst Governor in America” according to MSNBC, and so many anti-LGBT anti-Obama laws it will make your head spin! The only hope would be to transition our oil and natural gas industry to solar and wind, but there are basically no incentives for solar.

    • Frank

      ITC got renewed. It’s national.

      • Preston C.

        Yeah, but a lot of other states have additional subsidies like property tax exemption, sales tax exemption, additional tax credits, and favorable net metering. Probably went a little off on a tangent.

        • eveee

          I feel for you Preston. There is a soft spot in my heart for the people of Oklahoma, despite all that. I have gotten to know many Oklahomans. The state is fantastic for wind. Tornado land, too.

          • patb2009

            it must be exciting when a tornado hits a wind farm…

          • eveee

            They have. Wind farms fare well. They are designed for high wind. The turbines are spread out, so unless its a direct hit on a turbine, they don’t go down. Spacing between turbines is wide, about 3 rotor diameters. That comes out about 450m, about a quarter mile. Even with a few turbines out of commission, the wind farm can go on.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s a video of a tornado going through a wind farm. Notice how the turbines in the path get de-bladed but the turbines on each side appear not be damaged.


        • HairyHerry

          EXACTLY! That alone caused a Oklahoma Panhandle project to halt for now. Your angle got noticed really quick and I thank you for bringing it up!

    • HairyHerry

      MSNBC gets a lot of things wrong, but they nailed it regarding Mary. It’s not due to anyone’s sexual directivity, but all the retarded nonsense she signs into law. Imagine, someone from Lawton trying to outlaw HOODIES statewide! I’m glad that got laughed out of Committee. Besides, if OKC and Tulsa got hoodlum issues, let them collectively handle it!
      Now your state has Senator Lankford who wants to remove PTC when what’s currently in place expires. Let me guess he’s listening too much to eastern Okies who don’t have the good winds in Western and the Panhandle. He should carefully read the study in this article. There’s a lot of good folk who get ignored by the “I Have’s” in OKC in these areas, the Panhandle in particular.
      Just sayin’…

  • JamesWimberley

    I’ve been saying this for a while. Rents and local property taxes are assured revenue streams over the working life of wind and solar farms, with next to no countervailing outlays. It’s funny how cash cures NIMBY syndrome.

    • Otis11

      I don’t get the NIMBY stance… all the farmers I know are PCMBY – Please Choose My Back Yard because they know if someone up-wind of them gets a turbine, their chances go down…

  • Brian

    Huge benefits for struggling farmers who site these turbines on their land, and providing jobs and clean energy. All states should learn the lesson from Iowa, which gets 30% of their electricity from wind power. These wind turbines are not as ugly as dirty oil rigs or natural gas fracking booms, and that is why wind and solar should replace dirty polluting natural gas and oil.

    • HairyHerry

      The biggest issue with Iowa was the lack of transmission of excess power. One NW IA project had to shuttle the operation of turbines to keep from overloading the existing grid lines. I’ve been told this has changed recently, but haven’t been there in a while and will try to find this out.
      One thing I have to disagree is Natural Gas. Not all NG is alike. Some can’t be properly filtered for use so you’ll see NG flares. With that said, not every NG flare is from oil fields! There’s many around the country burning off methane from waste water operations, and that’s so much better than having it escape into the atmosphere.

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