On March 9, 2017, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives passed H.B. 2298, which would end the Oklahoma production tax credit for wind energy production three and a half years earlier than current law. This measure was first proposed in Governor Fallin’s 2018 Executive Budget. See our prior coverage.
The bill provides a July 1, 2017 sunset date for wind facilities to be eligible for the zero-emission tax credits. Wind facilities must be placed in operation prior to that date to be eligible for the tax credits. The rate of the tax credit is unchanged at 0.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Interestingly, the early deadline only applies with respect to electricity generated by wind. The bill retains the original January 1, 2021 deadline for other zero-emission facilities, such as solar or geothermal facilities. However, the vast majority of zero-emission energy production in Oklahoma is from wind.
With the deadline to be placed in operation just three and a half months away, should this bill become law, Oklahoma wind projects that are already in construction and are relying on the tax credits, may not be able to be placed in operation in time to qualify for the state tax credits.
Governor Fallin also proposed in her budget a new production tax of 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour on electricity generated by wind. This bill does not include the proposed production tax. As noted in our earlier post, the new production tax may be more difficult to enact because it would require a three-quarters majority to pass through the Oklahoma Legislature.
This bill passed the House by a 74-26 vote, and now goes to the Oklahoma Senate, where the Republicans hold a 42-6 seat advantage.