State Secretary of Energy David Fleischaker has a vision for
Oklahoma's potential as a provider of electricity generated by wind.
"Oklahoma has the potential to produce wind energy to supply the
rest of the nation just like we traditionally have sent oil to the
rest of the country," he said.
Wind has the potential to produce 25,000 megawatts of power in
western Oklahoma, he said. Current production for the state
utilities totals 12,000 to 15,000 megawatts. The U.S. can currently
generate more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity from the wind,
enough to provide power to 2.5 million average American homes,
according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of the
U.S. Department of Energy.
"The immediate challenge is to build transmission infrastructure
to send wind energy to end users in other states," he said.
Paying for the wind power transmission infrastructure is a
complicated proposition involving state and federal regulators, the
Southwest Power Pool, wind farm owners, landowners, Oklahoma-based
utilities, utilities in other states - many east of the Mississippi
River - who would buy the wind power created in Oklahoma and end
"Our challenge is to encourage orderly development of this
resource," Fleischaker said.
The challenge includes fair compensation for Oklahoma resources.
"We do not want to deliver an industry that exports revenues out
of state," he said.
The formula to keep revenues in state includes landowners.
"There is a land rush in western Oklahoma for sites for wind
towers and to develop wind farms," Fleischaker said. "We want to
educate the landowners so they get a fair share of the revenue for
having wind turbines on their property."
The number of turbines that can be operated on a section of land
varies. Typically up to 12 750 kilowatt or six 1.5 megawatt turbines
can be placed on a section of land, according to the Oklahoma Wind
Power Initiative, a collaborative research project between the
University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
While terms vary, a typical land lease agreement pays the owner 2
percent to 4 percent of the gross annual turbine revenues, or
approximately $2,000 for a 750 kilowatt turbine, according to the
OG&E's Centennial Wind Farm near Woodward, one of the few wind
farms owned and operated by a utility, has 80 turbines generating
120 megawatts of power.
The Oklahoma City-based utility also has a 15-year contract to
purchase power produced from the Oklahoma Wind Energy Center, also
near Woodward, owned by Florida-based FPL Energy. The 34 FPL wind
turbines generate 50 megawatts of power for the OG&E electric
Selling power generated by wind turbines in western Oklahoma in
other states takes additional infrastructure, which requires