A bill authored by Senator Jim Maddox, D-Lawton, would boost support for the Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative (OWPI) and its efforts to promote wind energy resources as an economic development tool.
SB 342 would send additional funding to the OWPI, which is located at the University of Oklahoma's Environmental Verification and Analysis Center. The Senate passed the measure on February 26th.
"The research on wind power that has been done so far shows remarkable promise, especially in terms of its potential benefit to our economy. This bill sends a positive message that says we are committed to making an investment in our state's future," Senator Maddox said.
Aside from continuing research funding to OWPI, SB 342 also requires OWPI to use its resources to provide information to Oklahoma companies and out-of-state wind farm developers who are interested in building energy-producing wind turbines in the state.
"Experts have estimated that wind power could be a multi-billion dollar industry for Oklahoma because of our state's ideal conditions for harnessing wind power. Entrepreneurs in my district and across the state want to make this happen," noted Senator Maddox.
The Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative has also collaborated with researchers at Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Mesonet program. According to Senator Maddox, SB 342 would promote more research projects at the state's universities.
"Aside from its economic potential, wind power is also a renewable energy source. I know this is an attractive area of research for our academic community. It would be great if we could take the lead in researching alternative power for the future," he said.
SB 342 is currently awaiting committee approval in the House of Representatives.