wind energy

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The proliferation of wind farms in the western part of Oklahoma has been causing headaches for the U.S. military’s aeronautical operations in the region, reports The Tulsa World.

SciFiles: What's Next In Clean Energy?

Jul 5, 2017

In 2007, America’s electricity sources were much more diverse than those in Kansas. Less than half of nationwide electricity was generated from coal, with almost equal amounts of natural gas and nuclear power. Kansas, meanwhile, relied on a less diverse mix, with nearly 80 percent of the state’s power coming from imported coal.

ewea.org

While winds were blamed for spreading wildfires that raged across parts of the High Plains in early March, they are also being credited with boosting wind power’s share in High Plains states, including Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, solar and wind power for the first time accounted for 10 percent of a month’s electricity generated in the U.S.

Andrew Whitaker / The Hutchinson News

Vic Thomas’ family has always wrestled with the wind.

Born in 1934, Thomas knows the stories of the Dust Bowl days that blew across the family farm near Montezuma. He recalled how his mother would put up wet towels along the windows to help keep the dirt from coming through the cracks.

Even in the 1950s, when Thomas was farming full-time, he battled the wind and drought, which, thanks to better farming practices, wasn’t as bad as his father's Depression-era farming.

In his 82 years of life on the Kansas High Plains, Thomas still lives with the wind. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Sunflower State’s wind power continues to grow.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, according to a first-quarter report from American Wind Energy Association, Kansas will reach 5,000 megawatts of wind power generation capacity this year, behind only four other states – Texas, Oklahoma, California and Iowa.

Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for installed wind power capacity, thanks in large part to a tax incentive that is soon coming to an end.

As State Impact reports, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed House Bill 2298, which requires wind farms to be operational by July to qualify for the state’s Zero Emission Tax Credit, an incentive program Fallin credited with establishing Oklahoma’s wind industry.

energy.gov

Five states, including Kansas, get at least 20 percent of their electricity needs from wind, but as The New York Times reports, alternative energy investments like wind and solar power have not performed well in recent years.

To make matters worse, the Trump administration has opted for a resurgence of coal and other carbon fuels, not an emphasis on alternative energy.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature is gearing up to end the last remaining major wind-energy tax incentive in the state. And, as StateImpact reports, some in the wind industry are calling the move a betrayal.

Daniel Acker / Bloomberg News

Last week, for the first time ever, the Great Plains derived more power from wind turbines than it did from any other source.

As Bloomberg reports, last Sunday the vast power grid stretching from Montana to the Texas Panhandle reportedly received 52 percent of its energy from wind sources.

Wikimedia Commons

A new wind farm is on Lamar, Colorado’s very near horizon. 

As The Prowers Journal , Iberdrola Renewables, LLC will begin construction on the Twin Buttes II project, which will consist of 36 wind turbines that will be located on the east side of Highway 287, east of the Colorado Green turbine complex, this spring.

energy.gov

Google announced last week that in 2017, renewable energy will power 100 percent of its global operations, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s blog, Into the Wind.

Larry Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

As wind energy becomes more economically viable in Oklahoma, momentum is building on a political movement to limit tax breaks to wind farms in the state.

As StateImpact reports, last week a panel that decides Oklahoma’s tax incentives decided to curb the credits being given to wind operations. The Incentive Review Commission has reported on ten different wind incentives under review this year.

energy.gov

A Microsoft data center’s electricity will be powered by a wind farm being constructed in western Kansas.

Kathleen Lavine / Denver Business Journal

Wind energy is booming in Colorado, reports the Denver Business Journal.

In fact, 14 percent of the state’s power now comes from wind, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy. And the Centennial State isn’t alone; wind power is surging in many parts of the country.

amazon.com

Amazon has plans to invest in a massive Texas wind farm, according to FuelFix.

The Seattle-based online retail giant is teaming up with Chicago’s Lincoln Clean Energy to build a 250-megawatt wind farm in Scurry County, west of Abilene. The company plans to begin operations in 2017.

The wind farm will feature 100 wind turbines which will power Amazon’s Texas’ facilities, with the leftover energy feeding into the overall state grid.

Matthew Mahon / The Wall Street Journal

Texas has added more wind-based capacity than any other state, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The Lone Star state still embraces its oil and gas, and Texas has garnered many headlines leading role in the fracking revolution. But the state has also quietly been becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.

fieldsbh / Flickr Creative Commons

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is coming to Texas, reports FuelFix.com. China-based Goldwind is planning to establish what will be its largest wind farm in the US, and has chosen the Lone Star State as the location.

Prowers Journal

A wind turbine east of Lamar, Colorado, went offline last week, reports The Prowers Journal. The culprit? Metal shavings. Repairs are expected to cost about $300,000.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma continues to support wind-generated electricity. But, as StateImpact Oklahoma reports, that support is drawing criticism as the state’s budget balloons and crude prices remain at historically low levels. 

Christian Murdock / The Gazette

Citizens of El Paso County in Colorado have grown increasingly concerned about the presence of wind turbines in the area, reports The Gazette.

County residents have accused the local energy company, NextEra, of causing various health problems. Complaints include headaches, nausea and dizziness, as well as inaudible, low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, and a phenomenon known as shadow flicker.

Denver Post

Wind farms continue to pump out millions of dollars’ worth of renewable energy in Colorado. But, as the Denver Post reports, turbines are also big business for landowners these days. Colorado landowners received $9 million in lease payments from wind companies last year. And all this wind energy couldn’t have come at a better time for rural High Plains residents. Oil and gas profits have dwindled, and slumping commodity prices have cut into farm and ranch incomes.

Drenaline / Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of Energy approved a project last week that would ship renewable energy directly from Oklahoma’s panhandle to cities in the southeastern United States. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports that the 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project was okayed by the feds last Friday. The electricity transmission line will cross 14 Oklahoma counties before passing through Arkansas and ending north of Memphis, Tennessee.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.” The implication is that wind energy is now cheaper than coal and gas power nationwide. But that’s not exactly right, reports The Rural Blog. In most of the nation, traditional power sources are still cheaper, if only slightly.

Brandon Thibodeaux / New York Times

Texas wind farms are generating so much energy that some utilities are giving power away, reports the New York Times. TXU Energy is making a bold attempt to change the way Texans consume energy.

Harry Pears / Creative Commons

More wind power is headed to the High Plains. A Spanish steel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in the Texas panhandle, according to the Houston Chronicle. GRI Renewable Industries said it intends to build a wind tower plant in Amarillo that would employ 300 people and build 400 towers a year.

Carol Hillendahl / HPPR

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the grid for 24 million Texans, nearly doubled from 2009 to 2014. Wind power was responsible for over 10% of the electricity for Texas in 2014, that is up from 9.9 in 2013 and 6.2 in 2009 as per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

randallcounty.org

Texas Panhandle commissioners agreed to give a big tax break to Chermac Energy reports the Amarillo Globe-News.  Randall County commissioners recently voted to allow the proposed wind farm to pay about half of what it would in property taxes over the next ten years.

Chermac Energy gets a 100 percent tax abatement in exchange for paying $3.4 million over the same ten year period.

A couple more steps have to be taken before the decision is final.  The county has to send notification of the agreement to other taxing entities, and then a final vote will be held.

Quentin Hope

  The cost of producing and providing electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines has plunged in recent years, and are on track to meet — and in some markets are already beating — the generation costs of conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

amarillo.com

The newest Texas Panhandle wind farm just began operation, and two more projects have just signed interconnection agreements.  The total cost of the pair will be about $900 million according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News.

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