Wind energy produces billions of dollars in benefits for Oklahoma schools, economy
This guest blog is authored by Jeffrey Clark, Executive Director of the Wind Coalition.
Building wind farms in Oklahoma is giving Oklahoma schools another reason why math matters. That’s because the state’s abundant wind resources, combined with private investment growing wind power in the state, is sending over a billion dollars in property taxes to counties and local schools over their life according to a new study.
The state’s homeowners and businesses are also able to keep more money in their pockets due to Oklahoma wind energy supplying an additional $2 billion in fuel cost savings to ratepayers. That’s largely thanks to stably-priced wind power’s ability to act as a hedge against volatile fuel prices.
Wind Energy Industry Impacts in Oklahoma was commissioned by the State Chamber Research Foundation and is researched and written by Dr. Shannon L. Ferrell and Joshua Conaway of Oklahoma State University.
That sentiment is echoed by Minco Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Sims, who has a number of wind farms in his district.
Sims had this to say about the report:
“Wind Energy has had huge benefits for Minco Public Schools. The added valuation to our school district has benefited our school and community greatly. We will open a brand new state of the art high school in 2015-1016, our community has a new water tower and our technology budget has been improved significantly. Without wind energy, we would not have seen the improvements we have been able to make so quickly.”
The private sector also benefits because after the initial investment, wind power requires no additional capital input to generate electricity.
In reaction to the recently released report, Google’s public policy and government relation manager Andrew Silvestri also weighed in on why the tech-savvy company is dedicated to renewable energy.
“At Google, we’re striving to power our company with 100 percent renewable energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, we see renewable energy as a business opportunity and continue to invest in accelerating its development. Oklahoma wind energy not only allows us to make our already highly-energy efficient Mayes County data center even more sustainable, it provides new renewable energy generation capacity to the grid that saves Oklahoma families hundreds of millions of dollars on their energy bills.”
Oklahoma wind power makes the state more energy independent while adding jobs and helping to keep family-owned ranchers in business. Wind power in Oklahoma already supports up to 5,000 well-paying jobs in the state, and Oklahoma ranchers and rural landowners receive $11.4 million dollars a year in land-lease payments from wind farm owners.
Oklahoma is richly blessed with diverse energy resources. By harnessing them, the state is well-positioned to continue leading America in energy production, including in abundant, affordable wind power.