It often seems as if the wind never stops blowing in Oklahoma.
That could pay big dividends for the state as federal lawmakers consider a renewable electricity standard that would require utility companies to get a certain percentage of their power from renewable resources.
State wind advocates insist passage of legislation calling for increased renewable energy generation would pave the way for Oklahoma to sell its wind-power resources to utilities in other states, making wind turbines an even more common sight on the horizon.
"I've always called it the next oil well," said former state Rep. Curt Roggow, a lobbyist for the Wind Coalition.
"It's the next oil well out there for rural Oklahoma."
Oklahoma currently has 1130 megawatts of wind power, with another 400 megawatts currently under construction, according to the state Commerce Department.
That accounts for 5 percent of the state's generation capacity, which ranks Oklahoma 10th in the nation in that category, said Kylah McNabb, the Commerce Department's wind development specialist.
"We're very excited to see that," she said.
McNabb said the state's largest power providers have been committed to adding more wind to their generation portfolios, even before Oklahoma lawmakers passed a renewable energy goal this year.
She said the new legislation should boost wind development more in the future.
World gains capacity