A House committee Tuesday passed Senate Bill 808 by a vote of 12-8. The bill would stop wind turbines being within 1.5 nautical miles of an airport, public school or hospital and put additional financial reporting requirements on wind developers for decommissioning old wind farms.
A bill putting more reporting requirements and siting restrictions on wind farms in Oklahoma passed out of a House committee Tuesday.
Senate Bill 808 would stop any wind turbines from being erected within 1.5 nautical miles of an airport, public school or hospital. It also would require developers to submit information to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission within six months of when they plan to begin construction on a wind farm.
“It’s been negotiated by all parties,” said Rep. Earl Sears, a Bartlesville Republican who presented the bill at the House energy and natural resources committee. “I’m very, very pleased with the wind industry in regards to their participation in helping us with these proposed regulations. I believe it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The bill passed 12-8. It now goes to the full House for a vote.
Sears said SB 808, which he sponsored with Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, would be the main wind industry regulation bill this session. Sears said his House Bill 1549, which contained similar provisions, would be dropped.
SB 808 also makes several amendments on wind farm decommissioning to the Oklahoma Wind Energy Development Act, which passed in 2011.
The Corporation Commission, which is in the middle of putting rules around decommissioning language in the existing law, will be asked under SB 808 to verify evidence of a surety bond of at least 125 percent of the expenses for decommissioning.
Oil and gas developers must post standard surety bonds as a requirement for operating, but the commission’s public utility division doesn’t have any experience with collecting or analyzing surety bonds for wind developers.
Commissioner Dana Murphy said about 3,000 oil and gas operators make surety filings every year at the Corporation Commission.
“There’s a standard threshold for oil and gas,” Murphy said in a phone interview. “For wind, there won’t be that many operators but each wind farm has a different level of evaluation. We’d have to establish a staff person in the public utility division just to analyze and evaluate the filings.”