Many misconceptions about benefits of wind industry in Oklahoma
By Frank Robson
In “Wind power key to state’s rural economy” (Point of View, March 4), Beaver County Commissioner Brad Raven outlined reasons he believed industrial wind was good for rural Oklahoma. I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions.
While the industry continues to claim that wind power is “cheap, clean and infinite” and provides discounted utility bills, it actually costs Oklahoma millions. Taxpayers heavily subsidize wind power to the tune of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour by the federal government and .05 cents per kilowatt hour by the state. A consumer electing to use only wind energy is required to pay more, not less, for their electricity. Any “savings” reflected on utility bills are artificially inflated because we’re subsidizing every unit of power produced on the front end. We pay millions into industrial wind and they pay a net zero in taxes to Oklahoma.
Their so-called support of education through ad valorem taxes is what I find to be the most offensive and distorted fact. The wind industry, prior to Dec. 31, 2016, received an exemption from paying ad valorem taxes for five years. Instead, those taxes are paid by Oklahoma’s dwindling general revenue fund. A few schools hit a temporary jackpot, but the majority of schools suffer from a severe lack of funding. Taxpayers are currently paying ad valorem taxes for more than 90 percent of the turbines operating in Oklahoma. Give Oklahoma taxpayers a pat on the back for the additional funding of rural schools, but industrial wind owners shouldn’t get the credit.