Over a decade ago, the state of Oklahoma announces its subsidies for wind projects in a bid to diversify its oil and gas-heavy energy industry.
The state created easy access to wind projects by reducing the cost of land and offering tax incentives.
However, the state has recently suffered an oil crash that has led to recession, for which a suggested solution is imposing a production tax on wind energy and capping incentives.
This potential action has been controversial, with people arguing the benefits the Oklahoma has seen from wind power, and the damage the tax could cause.
“We've been struggling with our state budget for four or five years now. It's been tough,” commented state Rep., Mark McBride.
“Where's wind been? They've been fighting us every step of the way on trying to help out the state.”
From 2002, the state’s wind generated renewable power rose from almost nothing to a capacity of 7,495MW last year.
Oklahoma is the second highest ranked state in the US for its installed win capacity.
“It frustrates me that expansion of these wind farms has slowed down,” stated Chuck Coffey, a rancher receiving lease payments from turbines in his Double C Cattle Company ranch.
“We're essentially going to drive the wind companies out of Oklahoma.”
In 2004, the state had a five-year property tax exemption on wind farms at US$1mn. This tax exemption reached $60mn by 2017.
“I do think there are a select few in oil and gas that have driven the anti-wind rhetoric, no doubt, and over the past three years that has really taken hold with some of the legislators,” remarked Mark Yates, Head of the Oklahoma Wind Coalition.
“And it definitely has driven a wedge and created political volatility.”