Wind Is Revitalizing The Sooner State

State Overview

The population of the “Sooner State”, Oklahoma is approximately 4.05 million people[1]. Oklahoma is the 28th most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, Oklahoma’s economy was ranked 30th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, forestry, energy, natural resources, manufacturing, and transportation industries[3].

Environmental Policies

In 2010, Oklahoma enacted a Renewable Energy Goal for all utilities to sell 15% of the electricity from renewable sources by 2015[4].

Power Generation Capabilities

In April 2023, utilities used renewable energy (58.1%), natural gas (39.8%), and coal (2.1%) to generate electricity in Oklahoma[5]. Wind is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Oklahoma.

In April 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Oklahoma was 12.39¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Oklahoma include:

  • 999 MW Wind Project – In April 2021, Illinois power company, Invenergy commissioned the Traverse Wind Energy Center in central Oklahoma.
  • 297 MW Wind Project – In February 2023, Italian power company, Enel commissioned the Seven Cowboys wind project in southwestern Oklahoma.
  • 287 MW Wind Project – In September 2021, Invenergy commissioned the Maverick Wind Energy Center in northern Oklahoma.
  • 200 MW Wind Project – In July 2022, German power company, PNE Group commissioned the Chilocco Windin north-central Oklahoma.
  • 200 MW Wind Project – In March 2021, American utility, Duke Energy commissioned the Frontier Windpower project in northern Oklahoma.
  • 199 MW Wind Project – In April 2021, American utility, American Electric Power commissioned the Sundance Wind Energy Center in northwest Oklahoma.
  • 164 MW Wind Project – In December 2021, Spanish renewable energy company, EDP Renováveis completed the repowering of the Blue Canyon II Wind project in central Oklahoma. The project replaced the 1.8 MW turbines with 2 MW turbines, increasing the Blue Canyon II Wind project’s capacity from 151 MW to 164 MW.


Commercial coal mining began in Oklahoma in 1873[6], prior to statehood. Coal was initially used to fuel steam engines for the railroad, stoves, and forges.

In 2021, Oklahoma had only one operating coal mines[7], which produced only one ton of bituminous coal. The coal used to fuel Oklahoma’s power plants is brought by rail primarily from Wyoming.

In 2010, 47.9% of Oklahoma’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants[8]. In March 2023, only 2.1% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease?

  1. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[9].
  2. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like solar.
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

The energy industry has long been a major component in Oklahoma’s economy. The state’s energy industry began with coal in 1873, followed an oil boom[10] in 1887. Tulsa, Oklahoma was America’s “Oil Capital” until the 1960s.

In the 1960s, oil and gas companies left Tulsa and moved to Houston, Texas to be closer to the major drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The 1960s began the steady decline of Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry.

In 2005, wind turbines began popping up across the Oklahoma plains. Today, wind is revitalizing the Sooner State’s economy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related issues and topics.

[1] Oklahoma Population 2023, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Oklahoma  – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Oklahoma State Profile and Energy Estimates,

[6] American Oil & Gas Historical Society, October 20, 2017

[7] U.S. EIA Annual Coal Report, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State, County, and Mine Type 2021, October 2022

[8] U.S. Energy Information Agency, Oklahoma Electric Power Consumption Estimates 1960 – 2018

[9] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants” by V. Volcovici, March 3, 2019

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