Wind Energy Blowing Strong: OK Senator Suggests Fizzling Tax Credits

Wind Energy Blowing Strong: OK Senator Suggests Fizzling Tax Credits
Wind Energy Blowing Strong: OK Senator Suggests Fizzling Tax Credits

Alternate energy has always been favored with incentives. As Oklahoma’s wind energy industry has gained its footing and become profitable, some are suggesting that the support system be removed.

Republican U.S. Senator for Oklahoma, James Lankford, is currently suggesting that the wind industry’s tax credits be removed from existence. Acknowledging his support for the industry, Lankford recognized its success has led to favorable profit margins.

“I don’t have a problem with wind energy,” said Lankford. “It’s one of many good sources of energy we have. Wind is profitable on its own.”

Historical attempts to alter the wind-energy industry’s tax credits

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, wind farms sought additional time to capitalize on government subsidies while claiming new projects were instantly halted. A one year extension on the tax credits was requested for projects that originated in 2016 and 2017.

Lawmakers stated that COVID-19 had an ill-fated affect on supply chains as well as construction operations. Permitting timelines were delayed and projects were postponed as they had been on course to be in operation by the end of the current year.

In May 2020, wind farms were receiving a tax credit of 1.5 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. A major stipulation was that the project had to have originated prior to January1, 2020.

Attempting to avoid project delays and extend deadlines, wind energy companies called upon Congress this past March to make credits available and specifically able to be converted to cash.

Oklahoma’s wind energy stance

With more than 15 billion dollars in capital investment, 107 million dollars is paid in annual state and local taxes. Data collected by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), reveals that Oklahoma ranks third nationwide for wind capacity installed. Additionally, more than 6,000 jobs in 2019 were supported by the state’s wind industry.

“It’s very clear they don’t need a federal tax benefit to make that work,” said Lankford.

With the potential to generate 1,521,652 GWh annually and install 517,000 MV of wind turbines, it can easily be suspected that the state and the wind industry itself will have to find common ground to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship moving continuing into the future.

Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]