Alternative Energy is Part of Cimarron

 County’s Future

by C.F. David

 Alternative, or particularly, wind power has been and will be a fact of life in Cimarron County. Until the arrival of the Rural Electrical Association, post WWII, those living in rural Cimarron County had few options for electrical power, except for small kerosene, gasoline or diesel generators, or, small wind chargers.

However, with modern technology, the small wind charger has become a giant in both stature and power production. A visit to one website

(http://www2.ocgi.okstate.edu/website/owpi2/viewer.htm)

 will illustrate the wind resources of Northwest Oklahoma and in particular, North Central and Western Cimarron County. The potential is here, what we need are power transmission lines.

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For information on present day wind power sites nearby, go to Florida Power and Light’s website at

 (http://www.fplenergy.com/portfolio/wind/index.shtml).

there you can see that the company has wind farms in Northeastern New Mexico, Southwest Kansas, and in Oklahoma, near Weatherford and between Fort Supply and Woodward.

Another company that might soon be interested in Cimarron County, is ITC Holdings,

 (http://www.itc-holdings.com/app.php?sec=&id=12).

A look at ITC’s website shows a publicly traded company interested in developing and building energy grids much like the Southwest Power Pool that has begun looking toward the Panhandle and Cimarron County for power in the 21st Century.

FPL has been in the Panhandle for several weeks talking leases to some residents.

In a call to Charles Egner, The Boise City News learned that the power giant is planning a 1,000 megawatt field. Egner explained that this translates to 500 towers, producing enough energy to light three million homes.

First however, is the transmission line that must be, and will be, built by Oklahoma Gas and Electric.

Egner explained that the wind farm construction must be timed with the construction of the 2,000 KW transmission line that will go through the county East to West, with leases signed now, planning beginning in 2009 and construction in 2010 with two to three years construction time.

Egner estimated that the construction phase could employ as many as 500 individuals.

The jobs after construction, and with start-up, will be about 50, and the power company, (Egner said), plans to hire as many as possible locally.

“They’ll be trained on site, in Colorado and in Florida,” Egner explained. “These will be good jobs with excellent benefits packages.”

According to Egner, the first 500 towers will be the initial jump off for FPL, with more towers to soon be planned.

The technology on homesite chargers has also improved and the recent installation of a tower near Amarillo was covered on a local television station. For those interested in homesite windchargers, the April/May issue of “Mother Earth News” has an article on the problems encountered and the planning needed, to install adequate windpower for a rural homestead.

If rural energy isn’t your cup of tea, and perhaps you aren’t lucky enough to own land on which a tower might potentially built, OG&E, FPL, and ITC are but a few companies publicly traded that are going “Green” that would welcome potential investors. Indeed in the same issue of “Mother Earth News” a company by the name of Calvert Investments advertised their energy fund. Windpower, is within the reach of us all.

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