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Jan 4, 2019

New Year brings new opportunities to expand jobs and grow investment in rural Oklahoma

 

As we move forward in the New Year, the State of Oklahoma has much reason to be optimistic. With an abundance of natural resources, Oklahoma is perfectly positioned within the Southwest Power Pool (SPP.) This is important because we are connected to 14 other states in a geographic area extending from the Red River to the Canadian border.

Within the SPP market, Oklahoma is number one in wind energy, number three in natural gas production, and we have the highest potential to grow production of solar energy within that footprint. Together, with our central location, our position will ensure Oklahoma is a leader in power generation for decades and provides new opportunities to expand jobs and grow investment in our rural communities.

Electricity markets are rapidly changing across the Unites States as more cities, universities and utilities seek to purchase and dispatch cleaner energy sources. Additionally, our Nation’s largest corporations are signing long-term contracts, or Power Purchase Agreements, for access to clean energy. Advanced manufacturing facilities, data centers, tech companies, and other businesses consuming large amounts of energy set goals to convert 100% to clean power within a few short years.

Why the demand for clean power? The answer is very simple – the cost. The production expense of wind and solar power is now more cost effective than older forms of energy such as coal. Together with the technological advancements in natural gas exploration has made Oklahoma a national player in power generation.

Our state is now positioned to recruit even more recipients of clean energy, like Fortune 500 companies Google and Amazon, as well as provide Oklahoma’s citizens with some of the lowest electricity cost in the U.S.

The time is now for Oklahoma to embrace our diversified power generation portfolio where renewable energy is now 36% of our total output. It is time to capitalize on our natural resources and actively recruit national companies and employers in search of clean energy sources.

Wind, solar, and natural gas power is cheap, clean, and produced in Oklahoma. As we embrace the new year, we must also embrace a new approach in how Oklahoma markets itself among our competitive energy producing states.

Mark Yates

Vice President of the Advanced Power Alliance and OK WindPower, a member-based association serving as the lead advocate for wind, solar, and storage across an eight-state region