OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A green energy company is expanding its operations in Oklahoma and plans to add 1,000 new jobs.
Enel North America, a solar and wind energy manufacturer, already operates in the Sooner State. Its portfolio includes 13 wind farms which created over 3,500 construction jobs, according to a company presentation.
Announced Monday, Enel NA said it would add a new solar panel manufacturing plant in Inola, leading to 1,000 new jobs and $1 billion in investment.
The deal even caught the attention of the White House.
“We know that the clean energy industry is really booming globally, and we want America to be a leader in that effort. We want Oklahoma to be able to participate and be a leader in those efforts as well,” said Rachel Thomas, Senior Communications Advisor at the White House.
Thomas said the investment comes after President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Today is just the latest example of how President Biden’s investing and America agenda is working. And it’s revitalizing American manufacturing across the country. It’s building a clean energy economy and inspiring every community along to participate and benefit from these investments,” said Thomas.
But the $1 billion investment also qualifies the company for a new state rebate program.
It’s called the Perform Act and gives $180 million in incentives.
Governor Kevin Stitt said he supports the deal, calling it “historic.”
Stitt’s enthusiasm for the economic development plan comes even as Enel NA calls itself as a company, “replacing fossil fuel-generated electricity with energy generated from renewable sources.”
“In the past we have seen huge epoch-marking shifts like the transition from using wood to using coal in the 19th century or from coal to oil in the 20th century. But what distinguishes this transition from its predecessors is the urgency of protecting the planet from the greatest threat it has ever had to face, and of doing so as quickly as possible,” read Enel’s website.
Earlier this month, the State Treasurer banned 13 banks from doing business with Oklahoma because they allegedly boycott oil and gas companies.
In a press conference two weeks ago, Governor Stitt explained that those 13 banks managed state pensions, so comparing them to Enel, which is a private company using private money, was not equal.
“All we’re saying is you can’t use our pension funds and our assets to push some political agenda. That’s all we’re saying. If you’re a private business and you’re investing your capital and you have an ESG policy and and you don’t want to do business with oil and gas companies, whatever, that’s fine,” said Governor Stitt.
Stitt on Monday released a statement praising the new agreement with Enel.
“When I took office, I promised to bring Oklahoma to the world, and the world to Oklahoma; and today’s historic announcement is a testament to that mission, our business-friendly environment and ‘more of everything’ energy approach. Enel’s expansion is a huge win for Oklahoma, and I’m thrilled by their record investment in our state’s economy and workforce, that will have a lasting legacy and continue to impact Oklahomans for generations.”Governor Kevin Stitt