Environmental: Legislative Update on Green Energy Bills

03.01.10

Four green energy bills were introduced in the current session of the Oklahoma Legislature:

SB1787 would amend the Oklahoma Airspace Act to restrict the severing of airspace above wind and solar projects and require that developers of commercial wind and solar projects must lease airspace only from the surface owner. This bill passed the Senate on March 10 and is now in the House.

HB2973 creates the Oklahoma Wind Energy Development Act, which mandates that the owner of a wind turbine or wind energy facility shall be responsible for decommissioning the facility at the end of its useful life. Enforcement of the Act will be under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. To ensure that decommissioning occurs, the Act requires that, after ten years of operation, the owner of the facility shall file with the Corporation Commission evidence of financial security in the amount of the estimated costs of decommissioning. The evidence of financial security must be in the form of a surety bond, collateral bond, parent guaranty, or letter of credit. This bill has been passed by the House and is now being considered in the Senate.

Two other bills, HB2577 and HB3017, proposed expanding the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Act to cover wind and solar projects. HB3017 also provided for a green energy loan program to assist low-income homeowners with financing green energy home improvements. However, both of these bills failed to get a hearing in committee and are dead for this session.

By William C. Anderson, wanderson@dsda.com

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Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca represents clients primarily in labor and employment
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