Public Service Company of Oklahoma on Thursday asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for approval of its nearly $2.5 billion fuel-free power plan to purchase three new wind farms and three new solar facilities.
The company said the proposed plan will help meet projected power needs while protecting customers from volatility in energy costs driven by high natural gas and power prices.
The fuel-free power plan would fund the purchase of a total of 995.5 megawatts of new, cost-effective renewable energy. The six projects, to be located in Kansas and Texas, were chosen through a competitive bidding process according to the announcement by PSO.
PSO’s proposed fuel-free power plan includes a total Investment of $2.47 billion. The plan consists of the Lazbuddie wind, Parmer County, TX – 265 MW and Pixley solar, Barber County, KS – 189 MW, which are expected to be completed in April 2025 as well as four facilities scheduled for completion in December 2025; Flat Ridge IV wind, Kingman & Harper Counties, KS – 135 MW, Flat Ridge V wind, Harper County, KS – 153 MW, Chisholm Trail solar,
Sedgwick County, KS – 103.5 MW and Algodon solar, Terry County, TX – 150 MW.
PSO stated the resources will help provide long-term stability in electricity costs, insulating customers from future market price volatility of natural gas and purchased power through the addition of fuel-free power generation. After all the facilities are online by the end of 2025, an average residential customer would see an estimated initial monthly bill increase of $3.48 (2.6%).
Due to ongoing market volatility, it is difficult to project the precise impact on customer bills as prices will continue to fluctuate based on variables like supply chain issues and fuel costs said the company in the announcement.
The firm said the additional generating capacity is needed to meet the energy needs of PSO customers. That need has increased due to new rules from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) that require utilities to have available additional generation capacity to support reliability. SPP is the 14-state grid balancing authority that includes Oklahoma.
“At PSO we understand the importance of providing affordable service and through this plan, we are excited to keep delivering on that commitment to our customers.” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Leigh Anne Strahler. “This investment in fuel-free power is another step in our efforts to shield our customers against high costs while meeting their energy needs.”
PSO customers already benefit from the fuel savings of wind energy according to the utility’s press release. The wind farms of North Central Energy Facilities are estimated to save customers at least $156 million in fuel costs from October 2022 to December 2023. The facilities are expected to save PSO customers $1 billion in fuel costs over 30 years. They will also help protect PSO customers from sudden spikes in natural gas prices and purchased power like those that occurred during the February 2021 winter storm.