Wind energy tax proposal brings questions of economic consequences

Oklahoma is third in the nation in wind energy. Online photo.

Oklahoma is third in the nation in wind energy. Online photo.

While high wind speeds in Oklahoma threaten to ruin hairstyles, the wind industry is transforming irritation into income.

According to NewsOK, Oklahoma is third in the nation for installed wind capacity, such as wind turbines. After a rise in questions concerning state incentives, Gov. Mary Fallin proposed placing a new tax on wind energy. This production would ultimately hurt electric customers, rather than benefit them, NewsOK said.

State Treasurer and Oklahoma Christian University Associate Professor of Business Ken Miller said the costs outweigh the incentives in wind energy taxation.

“The tax incentives given to the wind power industry are costing the state hundreds of millions in revenue that could be put to use providing core services to the people of the state,” Miller said. “None of the wind power generation companies make enough money to owe any taxes to the state, but the state is required to pay huge amounts of money in incentives to those companies.”

Although some believe the new tax will increase jobs, Miller said he does not believe wind energy would make a significant change to Oklahoma’s economy.

“Operating wind farms employ very few people, so, once construction is complete, any economic impact is very limited,” Miller said.

Senior Cody Milner said the new tax would become a burden and wind farms potentially could overrun other farms and ranches.

“The benefits of wind energy are theoretically moving into a society that is entirely dependent on clean energy,” Milner said. “However, that is at least 100 or more years in the future. The expense of enormous sectors of land does not outweigh the benefit. Farm and ranch land feed our populace.”

Milner said the government should try to improve in the handling of wind energy, especially in the years to come.

“In order for wind energies to be sustainable, they must be efficient and create energy and value,” Milner said. “So far, governments have put too much money into these energy fields without requiring them to actually produce.”

Senior Preston Coleman, however, said taxing wind energy would not promote much benefit for taxpayers in the long run.

“I do not think that it makes sense to tax wind when producing wind energy simultaneously gets companies a tax credit,” Coleman said. “It would be a better idea to simply do away with the tax credits that the state’s taxpayers are currently getting. This would accomplish the same things as taxing wind energy.”

The Oklahoma Economic Report said the potential wind turbines would be parasitic for Oklahoma. Most wind energy companies comes from foreign companies, thus the tax would be going to support other nations.

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