Oklahoma City [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission approved OG&E Electric Services' request to construct a 120 megawatt (MW) wind farm in northwestern Oklahoma. Approved in a 3-0 vote by the Commission, OG&E's Centennial Wind Energy Project is expected to begin production of electric power by year-end.
"We are pleased to have approval for this major expansion of wind power in Oklahoma, which includes the support of the state Attorney General and our largest industrial customers."
-- Steven E. Moore, OGE Energy Corp., chairman, president and CEO
OG&E is a regulated electric utility with approximately 749,000 customers in a service area spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
"We are pleased to have approval for this major expansion of wind power in Oklahoma, which includes the support of the state Attorney General and our largest industrial customers," said Steven E. Moore, chairman, president and CEO of OGE Energy Corp, parent company of OG&E. "We applaud the Commission for taking this important step to increase our state's supply of renewable energy and further diversify our generating portfolio."
The new Centennial Wind Farm, estimated to cost about $200 million, will be built for OG&E in Harper County, Oklahoma, by Invenergy Wind LLC. It will be one of only a few wind farms in the United States owned and operated by a utility. The electric output will be dedicated exclusively to OG&E's customers for the life of the facility.
In the past, utilities purchased wind energy through long-term contracts with third-party developers who own and operate the facilities. Such is the case with OG&E's existing 50 MW power project near Woodward. That program started in 2003 with OG&E offering customers wind energy through a subscription-based program, which was closed to new subscribers in October 2005 when it sold out.
OG&E reviewed the market for purchasing wind energy and determined that owning and operating the new wind farm would be a more cost-effective solution. The Oklahoma Commission agreed, and gave OG&E the go-ahead to install the 80 turbines capable of generating 1.5 MW each.