Oklahoma & Wind Power: Trailing only Texas on the Road to Wind Power Dominance
- August 19, 2017
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Texas may get most of the attention for its place as the country’s leader in wind generation but Oklahoma’s spot at number two has brought benefits to the state that were probably unimaginable just a few short years ago. In short, wind has been a boon for Oklahoma and an energy source that just keeps giving to the state as a whole. The state has a total wind capacity of 1,462 megawatts that is sizeable in its own right though a distant second to Texas’ 6,645 megawatts. Oklahoma is also one of just four states that produced more than 25 percent of its in-state electricity from wind last year.
Whether in 2nd place and with the chance of being in 1st in the future, Oklahoma is doing things right when it comes to jobs related to wind. “Oklahoma is now in the top five in the country in terms of jobs in wind energy,” according to Patrick Gilman, the energy department’s program manager for wind energy modeling and analysis. That equates to more than 5,000 people who are employed in the wind industry in the state boosting the profile of this clean and sustainable resource supporting electricity generation.
NextEra Energy’s Bryan Garner echoes the sentiments of so many in the state in praise of Oklahoma’s future potential. “ We see a really good future for wind in Oklahoma. We see a really good future for wind in Oklahoma. Oklahoma's got a tremendous wind resource. We've been doing business in the state since 2003 I believe, and we love doing business here in Oklahoma."
Even more encouraging for state, is that wind is sustainable and an industry at the forefront of energy transformation. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bears this out with in that wind turbine service technician jobs are the fastest growing jobs in America with a “108 percent increase” from last year.
Finally, the icing on the cake for Oklahoma’s wind power success is the state’s role in homegrown manufacturing for the industry. At a time when America has realized that it needs to reinvest in good paying manucaturing jobs in the industries of the future, Oklahoma is doing just that. Bergey WindPower of Norman Oklahoma is one of the nation’s top 3 small wind turbine manufacturers. The company has been focused on research with the U.S. Department of Energy for next generation turbine technology with the aim of producing turbines that will generate nearly double the energy of the company’s current flagship model. By all accounts, wind power is on a trajectory for success in the great state of Oklahoma.