Oklahoma panhandle will host the second-largest wind farm in the world, an announcement coming four months after support for tax credits for the industry ended. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
July 27 (UPI) -- Once operational, the Wind Catcher wind farm in Oklahoma will be the second largest in the world and largest in the United States, the companies involved said.
The renewable energy division of General Electric and Invenergy, the largest independent renewable energy company in North America, announced construction is under way for the Wind Catcher wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle.
At its peak, the facility will generate about 2,000 megawatts of power from 800 wind turbines from GE. If all the regional regulators coordinate, and the necessary utility infrastructure is in place, Wind Cathcer could help meet the power demands of more than 1 million customers.
"Wind Catcher shows American leadership in bringing low-cost clean energy to market at giga[watt] scale," Invenergy's founder and CEO Michael Polsky said in a statement.
The development came four months after Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin ended a tax credit for the wind industry, saying the renewable sector was competitive enough to rest on its laurels. Wind advocates in the state said a tax on future developments would get in the way of further advancements.
Instead of tax credits, the governor called for a tax on wind energy of $0.005 per kilowatt-hour produced.
By state, Texas, the No. 1 oil producer in the United States, has the most installed wind power capacity on the grid. Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in total installed wind capacity.
Invenergy said connecting Wind Catcher to the grid could save regional utility customers more than $7 billion over the next quarter century and support an initial 4,000 direct jobs annually during the construction phase.