State regulators move ahead with wind rule changes

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is moving ahead this week with steps to make emergency additions to the Oklahoma Wind Energy Development Act so wind farms in light of a new law protecting military air bases from wind farm encroachment.

The Commission’s Public Utility Division plans a technical conference on Thursday. It will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 301, Jim Thorpe Office building.

The Commission will take comments from the public on the proposed rules changes until Oct. 15. Then the commissioners plan a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 9:30 a.m. where a vote will be taken on the emergency adoption of the proposed rules.

At stake are military installation air bases. The legislature approved and Gov. Mary Fallin signed the new law into effect banning wind farms from certain distances of flyways.

The issue came to a head in recent weeks when a controversy developed over two wind farms under construction by NextEra. The farms are near Hinton and the Corporation Commission initially said NextEra was not in violation of the law because it gave notice two years ago of its intention to construct the wind farms.

The changes to the Wind Energy Development Act include definitions for “Determination of No Hazard,” “FAA” and “Local base commander.” The Act became law May 2, 2018.