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Oklahoma positioned to capitalize on demand for wind power, natural gas.

Byline: Daisy Creager

OKLAHOMA CITY Increased consumption, a simultaneous stall of production and record-breaking electric capacity additions in 2018 were among key findings of a study of clean energy trends, discussed Monday by a panel at the state Capitol.

Produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the 2019 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook was published in February, providing an overview of key findings about the energy industry based on 2018 data.

Stephen Munro, policy analyst and editor of Bloomberg NEF, said energy consumption grew faster than the economy in 2018, which is significant.

According to the Factbook, energy consumption grew by 3.3% nationally in 2018, while gross domestic product grew 2.9%. Energy productivity declined 0.4%.

In the last 10 years, energy consumption has grown 7.5%, GDP has grown 22% and energy productivity has increased 14%

Munro said the study found two possible factors contributing to the change. The manufacturing sector, the "most energy-intensive" part of the economy, grew, using 4.7% more energy in 2018 than in 2017.

Additionally, there was rapid growth in energy consumption among stores, restaurants and residential areas due to a rise in "cooling degree days," a measure of how much hotter it is than normal, requiring more air conditioner use.

According to the study, 2018 had the most cooling degree days since 1990. Heating degree days, a measure of how much cooler it is than normal, requiring more use of heat, also hit the highest number since 2014.

Munro said the increase in cooling and heating degree days indicates short-term climate change between 2017 and 2018.

During the panel, Munro also discussed electric capacity additions. Almost 40 gigawatts of capacity additions were made, the highest since 2003.

Munro said the low prices of natural gas and need to make up for lost capacity as coal-fired plants are taken offline have caused natural gas build to double from 2017, adding 20gigawatts in 2018.

The panel also discussed other key findings of the Factbook, including the rise in power decarbonization, growth of employment in the industry and continued affordability of energy in theUnited States.

Heath Herje, senior director of development southwest region for Enel Green Power subsidiary Tradewind Energy, discussed the state and future of Oklahoma's clean energy.

Herje said Oklahoma ranks third nationally in installed wind capacity at 8,072 megawatts,while 32% of the state's electricity is produced by wind.

HesaidTradewind and NextEra Energy have worked with Walmart, Target and AT&Tto increase the use of renewable energy.

"As we look at the future and as we continue to diversify our economy in the state of Oklahoma, we want to attract these businesses they are attracted by clean industry," Herje said.

Munro said Oklahoma is one of the few states that can capitalize on access to wind and natural gas.

"Oklahoma is in a uniquely advantageous position because it has these great wind resources and a lot of natural gas," Munro said. "Those are the two (of the three) fastest-growing generation sectors."

The full Sustainable Energy in America Factbook can be viewed on the BCSE website.

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Publication:Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Apr 30, 2019
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