- Associated Press - Saturday, July 12, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is planning to seek public input on the placement of wind farms and the regulation of rooftop solar panels.

The commission’s public utility division held the second of two hearings Friday for an upcoming notice of inquiry on wind and solar issues, The Oklahoman reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/VXaQcu ).

Issues up for discussion include what kinds of notification landowners near wind farms should get before the projects begin, as well as how to strengthen Oklahoma’s existing law for the decommissioning of wind farms. Other concerns include the impact on wildlife, property values and the economic benefits of wind farms.

The notice of inquiry was requested by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, after several wind-related bills failed to advance in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Brandy Wreath, director of the public utility division, said the notice of inquiry is a good venue for deciding which issues are important, but it has limitations. Some issues, such as state tax incentives for wind generation, fall under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

“We’re hoping to take lots of comments, answer questions and fine-tune those questions at the technical conferences,” Wreath said. “The end result will be recommendations to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.”

Wreath said it will be up to the commission to propose new rules or the Legislature to change the law once the notice of inquiry ends.

Commission staff added distributed generation issues to the agenda following the passage of legislation that allows regulated electric utilities to establish a new customer class and rate structure for users with rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines. The law goes into effect on Nov. 1, but the commission is required to approve tariff changes for distributed generation customers before the end of 2015.

Wreath said the distributed generation part of the notice of inquiry will help regulators at the Corporation Commission decide what utilities should include in their applications for new tariffs for rooftop solar or small wind turbine users.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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