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Wind-generated electricity is key to our future success of energy independence. Oklahoma has long played a role as one of the country’s largest energy producing states. And with the recent uptick in alternative energy, Oklahoma is once again leading the charge. Currently, we are the 9th largest producer of wind power in the United States, generating 689 megawatts each year which powers around 200,000 homes. This booming industry has not only allowed our state to create cleaner energy, it has also generated additional income for farmers who place turbines in their fields and has added to Oklahoma’s overall economy through more revenue and jobs. Most importantly, wind power is reliable, cost-effective, and produces zero emissions.
Currently, only about two percent of our electricity comes from wind power; but we can all work to change that. First, we need to ensure that the tax credits for alternative energy production are permanently extended. Extending the production tax credit on wind energy will send a message to wind producers and investors that we are ready to work with them to expand upon this already successful alternative energy source. Investors are much more likely to put their money towards future wind projects if they know there will be long term investment benefits. Second, most transmission lines are insufficient to meet the growing demand for wind power. In order to be able to transport the electricity generated by Oklahoma’s wind turbines across the country, we must build more transmission lines. Oklahoma is proud to continue its role as an energy producer, but we cannot share our energy without proper transmission lines.
Wind power will never be a complete replacement for traditional energy sources, such as oil, but is a step towards the future. For that reason I support an increase in the production of all forms of American-made energy. However, as our country continues to battle our current economic crisis, wind power has proven it can bring economic growth to many communities across the United States. In Oklahoma, it has helped to lower home energy bills, has created thousands of new jobs, and has put money in the pockets of Oklahoma farmers as well as into the state coffers. And this is just the beginning. With increased research and development of wind energy technology, the sky is the limit.