PSO seeks state approval to add low-cost wind energy

As part of its long-range plan to increase reliance on natural gas and renewable energy resources, Public Service Company of Oklahoma filed an application seeking regulatory approval to add 675 megawatts of Oklahoma wind-generated power to its energy mix. This reflects a 45.5% share of 1,485 MW total requested in conjunction with its sister company, Southwestern Electric Power Company.

The proposal includes partial ownership in three Oklahoma wind generation facilities located in seven counties in north central Oklahoma – Alfalfa, Blaine, Custer, Garfield, Kingfisher, Major and Woods counties. The three facilities represent approximately a $2 billion investment in Oklahoma and PSO’s 45.5% ownership share is projected to save PSO customers over $1 billion, net of cost, during the time they’re in service.

“Our long-range goal at PSO is to rely on a well-balanced mix of natural gas and renewable sources like wind to meet the needs of our customers,” said Peggy Simmons, PSO president and COO. “We’re excited about this opportunity because it will save our customers money and boost the state’s economy with new investment and tax revenues.”

It is considered the second major attempt in the past two years by PSO and SWEPCO to win approval for a major wind farm from regulators in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Last year, PSO’s 2-gigawatt Wind Catcher project was rejected by Texas regulators. Wind Catcher would have been the largest wind farm in the U.S. But Texas regulators voted against it because of the cost to consumers.

PSO had hoped to win approval because the deadline for the existing federal Production Tax Credit is 2020.

Oklahoma wind power currently makes up approximately 20 percent (1,137 MW) of the energy serving PSO’s customers. The company’s long-term plan shows customers will benefit from additional wind energy beginning in 2022. PSO began a robust competitive bidding process in early 2019, which determined these resources deliver the most overall value to customers.

PSO is pursuing this acquisition in conjunction with its sister company, Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). The amount of generation acquired by PSO or SWEPCO can be scaled to align with individual state resource needs, as determined by the respective state commissions. The wind energy will come online by December 2021 pending regulatory approvals.

PSO’s current energy plan also includes increased natural gas and solar generation resources to meet PSO customer needs over the next ten years.

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