Oklahoma ranks No. 2 in wind power capacity
It appeared in mid-2017 that Oklahoma was on its way to being the nation's No. 2 wind power state in the nation. On Tuesday, a market report released by the American Wind Energy Association confirmed it happened.
The data in the association's report said Oklahoma had 7,495 megawatts of installed wind power capacity at the end of 2017, putting the state behind only Texas, which boasts 22,637 megawatts of capacity.
The wind power industry across the nation also enjoyed a strong 2017, adding 7,017 megawatts of new wind power capacity, the association's market report showed.
In the fourth quarter, 29 new wind farms totaling 4,125 megawatts came online across 16 states. The association said there now is 89,077 megawatts of wind power installed across 41 states, enough to power 26 million American homes.
Another 13,332 megawatts is under construction, while projects to add 15,336 more megawatts are in advanced development. That combined 28,668 megawatts represents a 34-percent year-over-year increase, the association said.
“Wind delivered big results for the U.S. economy in 2017," Tom Kiernan, the association's CEO, stated in a news release about the report. "Building new wind farms keeps American factory and construction workers busy, while breathing new life into farming and ranching communities.”
Adam Jordan, a regional director for Genscape who covers the Southwest Power Pool and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, said Tuesday's report supports the industry's story of rapid growth.
"The past four to five years have been the high-impact years,” Jordan said. “Four years ago, when I first started studying the Southwest Power Pool in great detail, a big day for wind production would be 5 to 6 gigawatts.
“Now, we are regularly seeing big wind days that are twice that amount. And that's where we really have felt the impact in the markets.”
The report said wind power developers in Oklahoma installed 851 megawatts of new capacity during 2017, adding more than every other state in the nation except Texas that year.
2017 wind farms
Projects brought online during 2017 in Oklahoma included the Red Dirt and Thunder Ranch wind farms developed by Enel Green Power North America and Tradewind Energy (about 600 megawatts) and the Redbed Plains and Rock Falls wind farms developed by EDP Renewables North America and EDF Renewable Energy, respectively (about 250 megawatts).
Iowa remained a close competitor to Oklahoma with 7,308 megawatts of wind capacity, and wind energy association officials described the two states as neck and neck when it comes to what state will be number two moving forward.
Oklahoma also continues to have a significant amount of wind energy capacity under construction, with 1,366 megawatts getting built for seven different projects and an additional 2,159 megawatts of wind power currently in advanced development, including the 2,000 megawatt Wind Catcher project being developed by American Electric Power and Invenergy.
Developers hope to send power from Wind Catcher's 800 turbines to 1.1 million customers of Public Service Co. of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Co.
As to the procurement of wind-produced power through power-purchase agreements, the association said it remains split between non-utility corporate customers, which entered into agreements for about 40 percent of the power, and utilities, which entered into agreements for the remainder.
To keep up with all the latest accolades about OKC, check out the accolades section of the Greater Chamber of Oklahoma City website.