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Wind industry project pipeline filling back up in Oklahoma, nation

After a slow start to 2013, wind development plans gained momentum and more than 100 projects were under construction across the country by the end of the year, the American Wind Energy Association said in its annual report.
by Paul Monies Modified: April 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: April 10, 2014

Despite continued uncertainty over a key federal tax credit and a steep drop in wind farms reaching production, the wind industry ended 2013 with a record number of projects under construction.

The United States had 61,110 megawatts of wind capacity by the end of the year, the American Wind Energy Association said in its annual report released Thursday. Wind capacity was 3,134 megawatts in Oklahoma as the state remained in sixth place.

One megawatt can power about 250 homes during times of peak electric demand.

Nationally, installed capacity fell 92 percent last year to 1,087 megawatts, largely from uncertainty over the federal production tax credit. The incentive was renewed at the beginning of 2013, but the delay meant installations didn’t pick up again until the middle of the year.

Wind provided more than 4 percent of the electricity generated in the country in 2013, the American Wind Energy Association said. Oklahoma was in fourth place for electricity generated from wind, with more than 10.8 million megawatt-hours. That’s enough to power about 1 million homes.

“Increasingly, America is powered by wind energy,” said Tom Kiernan, the association’s CEO. “As utilities and Americans become more familiar with this affordable and reliable energy source, they want more of it.”

The pipeline of wind projects began to fill back up in the second half of 2013, and the year ended with more than 12,000 megawatts under construction across the country, the association said.

By the end of 2013, two wind projects were under construction in Oklahoma. Enel Green Power NA owns the 150-megawatt Origin wind farm planned for Murray and Carter counties in southern Oklahoma. TradeWind Energy Inc. started work on the 136-megawatt Mustang Run development in Osage County.

In a phone interview, TradeWind CEO Rob Freeman said the company is excited about its Oklahoma projects. TradeWind recently announced power purchase agreements with the Grand River Dam Authority for Mustang Run and another wind farm, the 98-megawatt Breckinridge project near Enid. Last year, the company signed a power purchase agreement with Public Service Co. of Oklahoma for 200 megawatts from its Goodwell development in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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