“Wind is at the lower end of the scale, but it's more about the fuel than it is the capacity,” said Skelly, whose company plans to build a high-voltage, direct-current transmission line from Oklahoma Panhandle wind farms to utilities in Tennessee. “It's really a way of offsetting other fuel costs. Local wind and natural gas makes sense for Oklahoma and the southeastern United States.”
Despite the split with Romney over the wind production tax credit, Fallin used her speech to criticize the Obama administration for its refusal to open offshore areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic for oil and gas development.
“We all know we can do this safely, and we all know that Washington has been standing in the way,” she told about 170 Southern States Energy Board conference participants. Fallin is chairman of the board.
Meanwhile, Fallin and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, have been instrumental in pushing domestic automakers to provide natural-gas-fueled cars and light trucks for state fleets. Governors in 22 states have signed on to the request for proposal, she said.
“We hope it will help pave the way for new products with a new demand for those products,” Fallin said. “It will not only transform the public sector use for these fleet systems but also help grow the private sector, which is also participating and using natural-gas vehicles.”
Fallin touted the passage of Senate Bill 1096, which compels state agencies to reduce their energy usage 20 percent by 2020.
“It's estimated we can save $300 million to $500 million in the next eight years in our state,” Fallin said. “So instead of wasting our energy here in Oklahoma, we're actually looking at ways to use new technologies to help with energy efficiency, which I think is a win-win for everybody.”