The Oklahoma State Legislature reached a compromise with the wind energy industry 2015, passing two bills, that would phase out the state’s five-year property tax exemption for wind energy projects and eliminate wind energy’s eligibility for a job creation tax credit in the state, in exchange for keeping in place a zero-emission tax credit until the end of 2020.
The Heartland Institute used the Oklahoma compromise as supposed evidence that states are backing away from renewable energy standards. However, the bills passed by the Oklahoma legislature this year were related to wind energy incentives and tax credits, not the renewable energy standard. Oklahoma has already met its renewable energy goal of 15% by 2015. According to the most recent data available from the Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma produces 19.4% of its electricity from renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro.
In addition, the cost of wind energy has fallen nearly 60% in the past five years, enabling the industry to be cost competitive even without subsidies in many states, though tax beaks and incentives help deploy wind at a more rapid pace.
Marita Noon of the fossil fuel-funded Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy also cited the Oklahoma legislature’s bills on wind energy as proof that renewable energy is failing, despite the facts showing otherwise. Heartland promoted Noon’s anti-clean energy piece on their website.