Friday, July 30, 2010

OG&E wind farm gains regulatory approval

Tulsa Business Staff
7/30/2010

OG&E announced yesterday that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has approved a settlement agreement reached by all parties to the company's application to build and operate a new wind farm in northwestern Oklahoma. Known as "Crossroads," the wind farm is expected to be running in the second half of 2011.

"This is a good outcome resulting from collaboration of the various parties interested in the expansion of renewable energy in Oklahoma," said Jesse Langston, vice president of utility commercial operations for OG&E. "We reached unanimous agreement with customer and shareholder groups, state agencies and regulatory officials, which culminated in today's 3-0 Commission vote to approve the Crossroads project."

Crossroads, to be built in Dewey County near Canton, will add at least 198 megawatts of renewable generation. Pending the results of a Southwest Power Pool regional transmission study, today's Commission order allows for Crossroads to be constructed with up to 227 megawatts of generating capacity. Average residential customers could see an increase in their monthly bills of somewhere between 59 and 65 cents per month when Crossroads is in full production in 2012. Beginning in 2013 or 2014, the lower-cost energy produced by Crossroads is expected to result in a net decrease in average monthly residential electric bills and to reduce customer bills every year the wind farm is in operation.

The new wind farm, to be constructed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., will have at least 86 Siemens turbines rated at 2.3 megawatts each and will connect with OG&E's new Windspeed transmission line to Oklahoma City, which was energized earlier this year.

In 2007, when OG&E had 170 megawatts of wind energy on its system, the company set a goal to quadruple that amount by 2012. Today, OG&E has 270 megawatts of wind power capacity, with projects under construction that will bring the total to 550 megawatts this year. With the addition of the Crossroads project, the company will have at least 750 megawatts of wind capacity; approximately 10 percent of OG&E's total from all sources, including natural gas and coal.

OG&E, which serves approximately 779,000 customers in a service territory spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, is a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp., which also is the parent company of Enogex LLC, a midstream natural gas pipeline business with principal operations in Oklahoma. RES Americas has been active in North America since 1997 and during this time has developed and/or constructed more than 3,800 MW, with another 1,000 MW currently under construction.

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