Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Blowing Up: Wind Power Grew in 2015, Experts Expect More in 2016

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Blowing Up: Wind Power Grew in 2015, Experts Expect More in 2016

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Uncertainty about production tax credits didn't hamper growth for one Oklahoma industry this year. Electricity generation capacity from wind farms soared 56 percent from the previous year, according to data compiled by The Journal Record.

University of Central Oklahoma assistant economics professor Travis Roach said the increase shows installation and construction costs are falling. More growth is expected in 2016, said Kylah McNabb, a renewable energy specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Enel Green Power North America Inc. is squarely in the center of the industry's growth in the Sooner State. The firm brought its Little Elk farm, which has a 74-megawatt capacity, online on Dec. 18. The power generation facility in Kiowa and Washita counties cost about $130 million.

Earlier in the month, the company also brought online the Goodwell wind farm in Texas County. It has a 200-MW capacity.

The two Enel projects represent nearly 24 percent of all the capacity added in Oklahoma, or 420 MW of 1,768.9 MW added in the year. The company has six wind farms in the state.

Enel representatives weren't immediately available for comment Tuesday. Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager Jeff Riles Jr. previously said Oklahoma is a good place for business because state and local officials encourage industry investment.

Oklahoma wind farms produced 11.16 million megawatt-hours of electricity in 2013, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Wind power production rose in 2014 to 11.936 million megawatt-hours in 2014, according to the EIA.

Installed capacity increased to 4,903.1 MW by the end of 2015, up 56 percent from 3,134.2 MW of capacity in 2014, according to data provided by the Commerce Department and individual companies, compiled by The Journal Record.

McNabb said many companies were working to begin construction in order to qualify for a federal production tax credit that had been expected to expire. …

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