The renewables portion of a state’s energy portfolio (the mixture of sources for energy production) can include wind, solar, biofuels and other sources, but in Oklahoma wind is the primary component. It has helped the state get ahead of schedule in a quest to stock its energy portfolio with at least 15 percent from renewables by 2015.
Oklahoma’s wind energy potential seems limitless, given the amount of land and the way the wind blows. Customers in low-wind states to the southeast will be using electricity generated by Oklahoma wind. Any notion that increasing the wind portion of the state’s energy portfolio is a detriment to oil and gas is shortsighted. As the nation moves away from coal to make power and moves toward exporting natural gas to foreign nations, wind has a growing place in Oklahoma’s energy economy.
Stateline.org reports that Texas is a key testing ground for the relationship between natural gas and renewables because it produces more of both than any other state. Recent research says gas and wind aren’t hurting each other but instead are eroding the coal market. And as we know, the wind doesn’t always blow.
In the future, during times when the wind isn’t blowing, natural gas may produce all the power that coal is now making in Oklahoma — a state that today imports Wyoming coal while exporting gas and wind power.