The term ‘renewable energy’ is thrown around a lot. We heard it from candidates on the campaign trail, we see it in the news, we discuss it around the dinner table. But with a more informed understanding of renewable energy’s role in Oklahoma, many may find it more crucial to our state than originally thought. Let’s talk about what renewable energy is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t.
What is renewable energy?
Sometimes called clean energy, renewable energy comes from natural sources that are continually replenished, like the wind and sun. A newcomer to the energy industry’s spotlight, the concept of renewable energy itself is as old as the earliest sailboats and windmills. The difference now is in the incredible technological advancements that have changed and broadened our use of renewable energy.
It’s true that renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. In addition to these environmental benefits, renewable energy also offers significant economic benefits. Among them is the diversification of energy supply sources that reduce our nation’s dependence on imported fuels.
As renewable energy options increase, so do job opportunities in areas like manufacturing and installation. Currently, the renewable energy sector is one of the top two fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. It has grown into a nearly $222 million revenue source for rural farmers and landowners who host renewable energy systems.
What are the long-term benefits of renewable energy?
The long-term benefits of renewable energy are not limited to farmers and industry workers alone. As our state continues to incorporate renewable energy options, everyday Oklahomans will reap the benefits through reduced energy bills and steadier prices produced by energy independence.
The benefits are especially clear for individuals who pursue renewable energy options for their own homes, resulting in increased property value, reduced energy costs and in many cases, significant tax credits.
How is renewable energy being used in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma has taken great strides toward renewable energy in recent years. A prime example of this is the City of Norman’s commitment to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy for electricity by 2035 and across all sectors by 2050. In 2019, numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed more than one-third of Oklahoma’s electricity came from renewable sources, indicating steady growth toward renewable sources over the last decade.