Wind energy seen as key commodity in Oklahoma

July 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

July 10, 2014

Wind energy seen as key commodity in Oklahoma

By Merrick Eagleton

Stillwater News Press
The Stillwater News Press

Thu Jul 10, 2014, 01:19 PM CDT

It’s no secret Oklahoma is a windy state, but now wind could be put to use to benefit other areas of the United States.

Clean Line Energy Partners is developing a project that will take advantage of the abundant wind source in Oklahoma and transfer it to other parts of the country. Christopher Hardy, Clean Line Energy Partners associate, said Oklahoma is able to generate up to 30 times its electric demand through wind power.

“There’s just more wind than Oklahoma can consume, and so like oil and gas and other commodities, this is a real opportunity for Oklahoma to kind of lead the nation in distributing products and commodities that are demanded,” Hardy said.

The project will establish an estimated $7 billion worth of new wind farms, including a potential route through Payne County. Clean Line Energy Partners is not responsible for the construction of the wind farms or selling the electricity to consumers. It simply transports it.

“We really are like a railroad or pipeline,” Hardy said. “We just ship that product to where it’s in demand.”

Rather than relying on alternating current, this project will utilize direct current. Wind can be delivered more efficiently this way. Direct current involves less land and has fewer electrical losses.

“Overall, it’s a much more economical solution,” Hardy said.

Land agents are meeting with landowners to get permission to conduct environmental surveys. Phillip Teel, Clean Line Energy Partners manager, said these surveys will help identify endangered species and other concerns of potential land.

“We’re doing that in an effort to try to choose the route that would have the least amount of impacts,” Teel said.

A compensation package will be offered to customers. The company will also pay state taxes at the rate of about $20,000 per mile each year. In addition to this, they are committed to hiring local contractors and companies to complete the construction.

“As many local jobs as the project will stand we want to use,” Teel said.

The company plans to have its routes narrowed down by December. At the beginning of 2015, meetings will be held to hear public comments. The communities then have about six months to address any questions and concerns. A decision on the project is expected late next summer. If all of the feedback is positive, then building will start in 2016.

“It’ll take about two years, and so if it all goes according to schedule, we could be in operation by as early as 2018,” Hardy said.

Clean Line Energy Partners is working with county commissioners to make sure a positive impact is brought to the community as a result of this project. Office hours will be held in Cushing from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Cushing Public Safety Center, 211 W. Main, in the training room.

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