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Oklahoma stands to benefit from other states' wind projects

Oklahoma is expected to benefit from wind development projects in neighboring states.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: February 18, 2011
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Clean Line Energy Partners is building a wind monitoring network in Kansas to facilitate its plans to build a transmission line that will carry renewable energy to the St. Louis area.

And wind industry experts said the project could boost wind development in Oklahoma as well.

Clean Line President Michael Skelly said the installation of high tech wind monitors across six Kansas counties will help developers understand how the wind behaves over a large area.

“We know the resource is there,” he said. “We're just trying to characterize it.”

Houston-based Clean Line has planned a number of projects to move wind power to areas in need of such renewable resources, Skelly said. Clean Line's project list includes a proposed 800-mile transmission line across Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Memphis area.

Oklahoma State University professor Shannon Farrell said wind development spurs new projects in other states by creating competition to provide electrical power.

“That is a competition in which all of our energy resources, both fossil and renewable, vie for market share,” he said.

Farrell said another factor is often overlooked. “If surrounding states generate enough development, that development can lead to improvements in infrastructure, which may also attract more manufacturing of wind-related components and the building of human capital to support all aspects of the industry,” he said.

“In a rapidly-evolving industry such as wind power, progress begets progress and areas that do not work proactively to address both the advantages and challenges of wind development can be quickly left behind.”

Wind Coalition Executive Director Paul Sadler said transmission lines adequate to carry electricity in areas full of wind potential are vital for further development.

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Energy that's renewable

Houston's Clean Line Energy Partners is planning several projects to move wind power from resource-rich regions to more populated areas in need of renewable energy:

• Oklahoma Panhandle to Memphis, Tenn.

• Western Kansas to St. Louis

• Northwest Iowa to Chicago

• New Mexico to Southern California

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