Where to place industrial wind farms and how to best notify surrounding landowners will be among the topics to be discussed in the next few months at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The commission voted Tuesday to open a notice of inquiry into wind farms. Two technical conferences to further refine questions are scheduled for Sept. 11 and Oct. 15. A hearing before the commission is set for Dec. 2.
The fact-finding process was requested by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, after several pieces of legislation related to wind farms failed to advance through the Legislature. Among the bills was a proposed moratorium on wind farms in the eastern part of the state.
The Corporation Commission held two stakeholder meetings in July with interested landowners and wind farm companies to get an idea of what the wind inquiry should cover.
An anti-wind group, WindAction, sent a letter to the commission Monday asking for additional questions to be included in the wind inquiry. WindAction wanted to know more about the effects of wind farms on regional development and on natural, scenic and recreational areas.
Brandy Wreath, director of the commission’s public utility division, told commissioners the inquiry was flexible.
“It allows them to add additional things for discussion,” Wreath said, “that will be handled at the technical conferences.”
The wind inquiry asks interested parties to provide comments about existing regulations over where to place industrial wind farms and the best practices used by the industry. It also asks how disputes over siting are resolved at various levels of government and how Oklahoma’s policies compare with other states.
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Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy plans to hold an informational meeting Aug. 21 to discuss proposed federal rules on emissions from power plants.
The meeting will include presentations from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Southwest Power Pool.
“There are billions of our dollars at stake as the EPA moves forward with its proposals that will significantly impact and change electric generation across America,” Murphy said in a news release. “While the focus has been on other environmental compliance rules that are now in place, this proposed rule appears to present another significant and potentially expensive issue for utility customers in Oklahoma and would require thoughtful, careful and coordinated planning by the utility industry. That’s why it’s more important than ever to become informed early.”
The EPA in June released proposed rules for states to meet carbon dioxide emissions goals by 2030.
The meeting will be at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 in Room 301 of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 2101 N Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City.