Electric Utilities are heavily regulated. I am not sure about Oklahoma, but in many states the rate that utilities can charge is tied back to the cost of electric production
Sure, and the battles over the rates that utilities pay for customer-generated electricity are raging right now.
Since electric production tends to be capital intensive
But in this case the utility customers are putting up the money!! I blew $19,000 on solar panels, my utility got a new source of electrons for no money down! I'm taking on the risk for them!
Feeding electricity back into the grid is not a free lunch for the utilities – there are costs involved.
Well the utilities say that, but it's mostly fear-mongering. The wires they built to send electricity to my house will happily carry electricity in the other direction. And again, compared to building a new fossil fuel plant buying my excess instead of fueling a plant is easy money for the utilities.
(and I am sure that electric utilities will whine loudly in an exaggerated fashion as they fight a rearguard action.)
That's what this is all about. Most states have net metering: if the utility sells to me at 15/kWh , I can sell my excess to them at the same rate. It's currently a win for the utilities because they're getting electrons in the hot summer with minimal capital cost, but they're throwing up roadblocks and raising rates now in fear of a future where a significant percentage of their customers are selling to them. In a fair system they would pay me what they would pay to run a plant at that moment, less a transmission fee and plus a bonus that my electrons are low CO2. this month's Sierra Magazine lists state-by-state efforts to fight net metering, refuse to hook up new solar installations, etc. South Carolina sounds worse than Oklahoma, there "initial determination that rooftop-solar leases should be banned as unfair competition to the utility industry."
In a sane approach to limiting global warming, there would be taxes on fossil-generated electricity or (less ideally) carbon emissions trading, and the utilities would be trying to figure out how to decrease those costs. Well hey look, our customers are putting up their own capital to solve the problem for us!
It's a similar situation with V2G (Vehicle 2 Grid) to cope with demand spikes and brown-outs. Electrical vehicle owners could be a huge instantaneous reserve of electrons to avoid, without the capital and operational costs of having dirty peaker plants on standby. There have been dozens of studies of this, but again the electric utilities are allergic to the idea of paying their customers. Most owners would be willing to let the utility drain 20% of their battery, but not if they get nothing in return.
I naively hoped that the electric utilities would be happy about distributed renewable power generation and would evolve to work with customers who are also suppliers to their mutual benefit. But it turns out they're wedded to the idea of burning fossil fuels to make electricity to sell to us, and many are in bed with the fucking Koch brothers. But soon they'll need electrons more than people with renewables need them: "SolarCity is partnering with electric car company Tesla ... to store solar energy in battery packs for use at night, with a connection to the grid solely for backup."