- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - A new study from Oklahoma State University researchers says most of Oklahoma’s 2,000 utility-scale wind turbines are located outside of new siting limits put in place by state law earlier this year.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1MlqftL ) reports only two of the turbines are located within the new limits according to the study. Shannon Ferrell and Joshua Conaway with OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics performed a geographical analysis to see if the turbines from 30 existing projects would have been approved under the new law.

The law, which went into effect Aug. 21, says turbines must be 1 1/2 nautical miles, about 9,100 feet, from schools, hospitals and airports. The report says Weatherford Elementary School West and the Concho School on the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal Complex are within the setbacks.

The study said, “This suggests that if current wind energy development trends continue, setbacks from these facilities should not significantly hamper wind energy development.”

Rick Mosier, with the Oklahoma Property Rights Association, said the group is concerned about turbine setbacks from homes and the property of nonparticipating landowners next to landowners, who have leased their property to wind developers. Mosier says it is an issue that the group will continue to evaluate.

The study, which was funded by the State Chamber of Oklahoma’s research foundation, included analyses of future property tax revenue from the projects, as well as consumer savings on electric bills from greater use of wind power by utilities.

According to the study, wind farms built or under contract in the state would provide more than $1 billion in additional property tax revenue to schools and counties over the useful lives of the farms. It also said wind power that is generated in Oklahoma would save ratepayer’s an estimated $2 billion in fuel costs from utilities.

Fred Morgan, the chamber’s president and CEO said “This report clearly shows that Oklahoma’s investment in wind energy production is paying off.”

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


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