Ironically, even the alternative energy sector is impacted. While growth in Oklahoma’s alternative energy sector is certainly something to cheer, the fact is that biofuel production and commercial wind turbines and related infrastructure do not eliminate the need for affordable “baseload” electric generation (i.e., power that is available in sufficient amounts 24/7). Barring some technological breakthrough, Oklahoma’s fossil fuel-powered generation is critical to meeting that demand.
The rate cases that will result from all this are already a main topic of discussion for state utility regulators in America who are faced with the increasingly difficult task of ensuring reliable but affordable electric service.
There is no magic bullet, no simple answer for those of us who must grapple with the federal mandates and their costs. My hope is for all those who might be impacted to realize these issues will not go away and to engage in helping find the best solution.
Dana Murphy is an Oklahoma corporation commissioner.