One company is investing $3 billion into Oklahoma — an investment aimed at making profit on the wind.
NextEra Energy Resources has more than 15 wind projects and developments in Oklahoma, with 13 of those now fully operational.
One of the proposed projects spans across Garfield, Alfalfa and Major counties and will provide thousands annually in tax revenue. Turkey Creek will be a 250-megawatt project with the ability to provide electricity to about 75,000, 410 households.
Garner said a majority of those hired from Oklahoma receive job training to be a wind technician.
“People have changed industries for the job, going from military or farming to wind technician or other energy industries,” he said.
Garner said many started with NextEra as wind technicians and now those people are regional managers.
“It’s a good stepping stone for many,” he said. “They can continue to work in their home state and area.”
Oklahoma is known for its wind and wind speeds.
“To be able to harvest that wind for landowners, communities, and create a tax base and jobs — it’s a great economic stimulus,” he said. “The second factor we look for is access to transmission lines so you can feed the larger electric bride with energy. We have areas that interconnect with the grid.”
A third puzzle piece of wind development is landowners.
Without willing landowners who want to lease, there are no wind farms.
Garner said his company received a great reception in Oklahoma.
“Many farmers and ranchers earn money from wind as a way to supplement their income,” he said.
The last piece are companies to purchase the final product.
“We need utility or companies that want to purchase wind energy. This includes non-traditional customers like Google and corporate businesses that purchase renewable energy from wind projects in Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s a great asset and has been very successful for this state.”
Turkey Creek is in the early stages of development, and it will be several years before the final product is completed and sold. In the meantime, NextEra continues to look for opportunities in Oklahoma, including starting Blackwell II in Grant and Kay counties. Blackwell II also is in the early phases, but Blackwell I has 26 turbines in Kay County.
Among the company’s numerous projects in Oklahoma, NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary operates a wind project in Harper and Woodward counties. The project began commercial operation in 2003 and is a 102-megawatt wind generation plant.
“NextEra Energy Resources is proud to do business and has been doing business in the state for more than 13 years now,” Garner said. “We have hired more than 1,800 people … and look to continue investment in the state.”
Story provided by: Enid News & Eagle
Written by: Emily Summars