New legislation could make renewable energy more expensive in Oklahoma

April 2, 2014 1 By Stephen Vagus

Legislation aims to introduce new tax on renewable energy customers

Renewable Energy - Higher Costs for ConsumersOklahoma homeowners with personal renewable energy systems could soon face new taxes due to legislation being considered by the state’s lawmakers. The legislation is designed to recover the costs associated with providing energy infrastructure support to homeowners with clean energy systems. Homeowners with solar power systems installed on their rooftops and those with small-scale wind turbines would be affected by the legislation. Businesses that make the technologies that these homeowners use would also be affected.

Legislation could cause a shift in state’s energy market

The cost of solar panels has been declining steadily over the past year. This is making it easier for homeowners to purchase and install solar energy systems. Small-scale wind turbines are also seeing more attention come from homeowners and people continue to look for ways to reduce their reliance on the state’s utilities. Home-based renewable energy systems are reducing strain on the state’s energy infrastructure, but also cutting into the profits of utilities that operated within Oklahoma. As such, the legislation seeks to institute a surcharge on the electricity that home-based systems generate.

Homeowners with solar and wind energy systems would be affected by new legislation

The legislation would apply to all homeowners with solar energy systems and wind turbines installed on their properties that have signed up for net metering. The legislation would apply a surcharge to surplus electrical power that is generated by these systems, as it would typically introduce more strain to the energy grid’s storage capacity. Those affected by the legislation would also receive energy credits based on the electrical power that they produce.

Financial strain between renewable energy customers and regular customers could be eased

The legislation has been criticized as anti-solar and anti-wind, but lawmakers suggest that it would create a friendlier environment wherein energy developers and utilities could work more closely together. Some lawmakers suggest that the currently policies in place throughout the state reward renewable energy customers with subsidies provided by those that do not make use of renewable energy, creating a kind of financial imbalance among homeowners throughout the state.