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AFP: Commissioners Should be Skeptical of Wind Catcher Project

Jul 2, 2018 by AFP

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.— Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma (AFP-OK), the state’s largest free-market advocacy group, on Monday delivered letters from over 600 Oklahomans to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) urging commissioners to take a closer look at the project.

Before the Oklahoma Corporation Commissions passes judgement, AFP-OK has issued a challenge to commissioners to answer several critical questions about the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.

“We ask the commission to thoroughly exercise its oversight authority by carefully considering the numerous risks in the light of the uncertain benefits this scheme proposes. Preventing gambling and imprudent decision-making with the funds of ratepayers and taxpayers is at the core of the mission of the commission, and we ask they take that mission seriously,” said AFP-OK State Director John Tidwell. “Oklahomans have fair and legitimate questions that should be answered in this worrisome, rushed process. In its current form, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a risky scheme that is simply not a good deal for Oklahomans.”

In a letter to the commission, AFP asks commissioners to listen to the concerns of thousands of citizens of our state and not rush to a decision without fully examining all aspects of the project.

AFP asks commissioners to consider the following:

  • What if the project sees delays in construction, or hits legal roadblocks and fails to qualify for the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC)?
  • Why does the Commission not include the massive cost of the PTC to taxpayers in conducting its cost-benefit analysis?
  • What if the capacity factor never reaches projected estimates on an annual basis or declines more rapidly than anticipated as the project ages?
  • Because there are little to no increases in power demand, what other generation resources will be forced to retire because this heavily subsidized project will be built?  Will those retirements result in losses of local tax dollars to the communities in which those assets are located?
  • What would the estimated benefits of the project be, absent the overly aggressive assumptions built into model? Could it be a net loss for Oklahoma ratepayers?
  • Is it fair to expose ratepayers to this high-level risk on a project that has failed to provide a compelling argument?