Clean and green profit on the plains

There is a new kind of energy literally sweeping down the plains of Oklahoma, and it is truly our most abundant resource. Wind power has become the fastest growing sector of the energy industry in Oklahoma, so fast that we can’t keep up with the construction of the infrastructure. Recently the Oklahoma Electric Power Transmission Task Force met to discuss how the construction could take place. As presented to Task Force by Southwest Power Pool, the cost to upgrade the transmission grid is $3.4 billion. This number might be staggering at first, but when put into perspective and the investment is fully examined it is an obvious added value to our state.  
Once the infrastructure is constructed Oklahoma energy companies will have the ability to send Oklahoma wind-generated power to states across the country. Most of our energy produced from wind will be exported as a commodity. The Task Force has taken a regional approach to the construction of transmission lines that will allow us to serve Oklahomans and assist our neighbors with their power needs. We will in turn, create a sustainable industry for local Oklahoma companies. This could create a multi-billion-dollar industry developed from a resource that is free to capture.

Oklahoma has this opportunity because of our unique resource that most states don’t share. Unlike coal or natural gas based power plants wind power relies only on turbines and transmission lines. It is important to keep in mind that wind energy is only a supplement to traditional power sources because when the wind doesn’t blow no energy is created. That is why this investment is so critical in Oklahoma, because of our abundance and consistency of wind. 
Currently Oklahoma ranks sixth in wind energy capacity, producing over 500 megawatts. It is estimated that northwest Oklahoma alone has 20,000 or more megawatts of wind generation capacity. With that kind of potential and a sound investment in upgrading our grid system, Oklahoma could be the top producer of wind energy in the country. That’s right, number one in production.  We already have twice the wind energy potential per square mile than Texas, which currently ranks first in production
The work and recommendations put forth by the Task Force are to be commended. The idea of wind powering our state began as an idea to enhance conservation and has developed into a multistate and multi-billion-dollar economic development venture. Once fully developed this grid would send power through seven different states with the potential of expansion to others. In this proposal, Oklahoma and our future generations could be the greatest beneficiary of this regional effort. Additional cheaper power and our economy reaping financial rewards through business development are all possible by harnessing the winds of progress.