Wind Energy Takes Center Stage


Tuesday, December 2nd 2008, 3:58 pm
By: News 9


By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- More than a thousand people attended the inaugural Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference on Tuesday, where Boone Pickens spoke.

Pickens announced a few weeks ago he was delaying construction of what is expected to be the world's largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas.

“I have to have a lot of financing for what I’m trying to do,” Pickens said. “There’s no credit around, I can’t get it.”

Pickens said that doesn't mean Oklahoma, and the nation as a whole, should stop moving forward with wind energy.

“We’ve got wind, we got a great wind corridor from Texas to Canada,” Pickens said. “We haven’t used it.”

Link to National Geographic Wind InteractivePickens said wind can help break the nation’s addiction to foreign oil, and bring much-needed money and jobs to communities that need them.

“People on the east and west coast say you can’t do that because of the nimby factor,” Pickens said. “Let me tell you, people want it in the rural areas of America. They don’t mind it in their back yard.”

Bill Inman was one of hundreds of landowners who came to the wind conference to learn more about the potential windfall of allowing turbines on his land. “I would hope enough to buy more feed for my cattle,” Inman said. “That’s not going to good right now.”

There are some who worry the industry is developing too rapidly, without proper regulation, and who say landowners are being taken advantage of right now, being forced to allow new transmission lines on their property, and signing unfavorable leases.

“I think as this industry first came into this state, we had more problems that we see today,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Environment J.D. Strong. “We think land owners are becoming more and more educated all the time.”

State officials acknowledged there's little regulation right now, and said they hope that, by working with the industry to address issues up front, they can maintain a low rate of regulation.