Utility customers have been told they will see monthly increases in their utility bills as energy providers recoup costs from battling winter storm Uri a year ago.
These approved rate increases should be seen for what they really are: the added cost of intermittent power generation systems.
Wind power has grown in Oklahoma thanks to generous federal and state tax incentives (your dollars) that have made Sooner State the second-largest net producer of wind power in the nation. Policies put in place over a decade ago by those long out of office have created an electrical infrastructure that works well on days when the wind blows, but creates an artificial shortage of power when the wind doesn’t blow. not and that electricity is most needed.
When Siberian-like temperatures blanketed the state in early 2021 and Oklahomans needed a reliable source of energy to heat and protect their homes, renewables failed. With temperatures in teens and Oklahomans facing a day of blackouts, wind power accounted for just 2.5% of the electricity generated by the Southwest Power Pool, with coal and natural gas providing 83% of the electricity produced. This 12-day wind drought covered most of the United States.
Utilities had to have natural gas and some paid any price for it. By law, these costs are passed on to consumers. Not only do consumers bear the tax burden of wind subsidies, but they also have to pay more when what they have subsidized does not work!
Natural gas saved thousands of lives in Oklahoma during the 2021 arctic explosion that sent temperatures in the state plummeting earlier to record lows. Natural gas’s dual ability to both generate electricity and heat homes has given our friends and neighbors a head start in protecting themselves from the cold fury of Mother Nature.
Ensuring that Oklahoma continues to have an abundant supply of affordable, clean-burning natural gas should be at the forefront of legislative decisions. Public policies that promote the production and use of Oklahoma’s natural gas will give citizens the reliable energy they want and need while strengthening our state’s economy, which depends on an industry dynamics of oil and natural gas.
Brook A. Simmons is chairman of the Petroleum Alliance.