Overview of Oklahoma's wind energy sector and investment opportunities for energy companies in the State.
OKLAHOMA – A Diverse Wind Offering For European Companies at the Center of North America’s Wind Corridor
Known globally as an oil and gas giant, Oklahoma is rapidly diversifying its power portfolio and is quickly becoming known as one of the wind industry’s main markets in North America. With over 3,000 MW of wind generation currently in operation or under construction, the state is fast becoming one of the wind energy leaders in North and South America.
According to the Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative (OWPI), a research and resource partnership between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma has about 2.3 times more wind energy potential per square mile than Texas. The Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization, expects its 8-state region to produce 8,500 MW of wind power, with more than half coming from Oklahoma, between 2020 and 2025.
Oklahoma Wind Energy Sector Facts:
– Ranked 8th in the United States for existing wind capacity
– Total existing wind installed as of February 2012: 2,041MW
– Total MW under construction currently: 1119.45 MW
– Ranked 5th in the United States for total new capacity installed in 2011 with 525 MW.
– Over 1000 turbines are installed in the state.
– Turbines installed: GE NEG Micon, Vestas, Suzlon, Acciona Siemens
– On tap to be installed in 2012: DeWind, RePower, Mitsubishi, GE
Home to the Next Major Advancement Within the Wind Industry
Oklahoma is home to the first three direct-drive wind turbines installed in the United States. This technology, developed by Siemens Energy, will improve cost and reliability of turbines both onshore and offshore and is viewed as the next major advancement within the wind industry.
Rated at 3 megawatts of capacity, these direct-drive wind turbines are more compact than generators that use a gearbox and are efficient at low wind speeds. The Siemens direct-drive technology has a permanent magnet attached to the rotor, which connects directly to a generator, thus eliminating the need for a gearbox, a costly component that has historically experienced many technical problems.
Wind Transmission Capacity
Oklahoma is moving forward with several initiatives to develop the transmission infrastructure needed by its rapidly growing renewable energy industry.
Horizon Transmission LLC, a joint venture between OGE Energy Corp. and Electric Transmission America, are constructing high-capacity transmission projects in Western Oklahoma, where a good portion of the state’s wind energy development occurs.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has granted ITC Great Plains and The Plains & Eastern Clean Line (P&ECL), public utility status, enabling them to build and maintain transmission lines in Oklahoma. P&ECL is currently working on a $14 billion “Clean Line” that will be able to connect 7,000 megawatts of clean energy generated in Western Oklahoma, South West Kansas and the Texas Panhandle to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Arkansas and other southeastern markets. The renewable energy that will be transported through approximately 800-miles of overhead HVDC transmission lines will help power over two million homes.
Governor Mary Fallin 2011 Oklahoma’s First Energy Plan supports transmission investments to connect wind power to loads, and calls for the wind and gas industries to work together on integrated power development in which gas-fired power plants could back up variable wind plants, allowing for easier integration of wind energy into the 24/7 grid.
Supply Chain Capacity
There are more than 500 Oklahoma companies equipped and ready to supply products to wind turbine manufacturers.
According to OK Commerce, Oklahoma’s employment in potential wind-component manufacturing industries grew 3.9% between 2006 and 2007. Oklahoma experienced this increase during a time when wind-component manufacturing decreased nationally by 3.4%.
So from castings, machining, bearings, towers, and gears to forges, fabrications, and suspended climbing systems, potential suppliers can easily be found in Oklahoma.
Wind Research & Development
Unique partnership opportunities exist in Oklahoma due to the weather expertise found in Oklahoma. The knowledge capital found at Oklahoma University’s Weathersphere in Norman, OK and the over 38 weather forecasting companies that have spun out of or have partnered with OU, make Oklahoma the ideal location for wind companies seeking to determine capacity and predict wind velocities for future and existing wind farm construction.
A growing European presence in OK
Oklahoma is today home to some major European wind companies including Siemens Energy, Acciona and Vestas. In February 2012, Siemens Energy opened a components facility in Woodward, OK that will serve as a technical training hub for its entire southwest region business and employ 40 people.
A delegation from Oklahoma will be attending the EWEA exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 16-19, 2012 to meet with European wind energy companies to let them know about the growing business opportunities that can be found in the State.
A Pro-Wind, Pro-Business State
Oklahoma’s pro-business attitude and nationally-recognized incentive program means its ready to do business with renewable energy companies. Oklahoma’s business incentive program offers a choice of up to 5% cash back quarterly of new taxable payroll (Quality Jobs) or a tax credit on investment or new jobs (Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit). Additionally, a 5-Year Ad Valorem Property Tax Exemption is available for qualifying manufacturing companies.