Wind Turbines (copy)

Wind turbines dot the landscape of northwestern Oklahoma near Seiling. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World file

Public Service Company of Oklahoma filed an application Monday seeking regulatory approval to add 675 megawatts of Oklahoma wind-generated power to its energy mix.

The proposed move is part of a long-range plan to increase reliance on natural gas and renewable energy resources.

The proposal reflects a 45.5% share of a 1,485 megawatt request made in conjunction with Southwestern Electric Power Co., a sister company of PSO that provides electricity to nearly 532,000 customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

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The proposal includes partial ownership of three Oklahoma wind generation facilities in Alfalfa, Blaine, Custer, Garfield, Kingfisher, Major and Woods counties.

The three facilities represent approximately $2 billion in investments in Oklahoma and PSO’s 45.5% ownership is projected to save PSO customers more than $1 billion during the time they are in service, according to the company.

“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 chief operating officer. “We’re excited about the opportunity because it will save our customers and boost the state’s economy with new investment and tax revenues.”

Oklahoma wind power makes up about 20% of the energy serving PSO’s customers. The company’s long-range plan calls for increased natural gas and renewable resources to meet customer needs over the next 10 years.

The proposed wind energy would come online by December 2021. Customers would begin benefiting from the additional energy in 2022, according to the company.

Plans were scrapped in July 2018 for a $4.5 billion wind project that would have provided low-cost energy from a 2,000 megawatt wind farm in Oklahoma panhandle.

Dubbed the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project, the plan was cancelled after Public Utility Commission of Texas denied approval. The project, which was pending approval by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, had already received approvals by commissions in Arkansas and Louisiana as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Proponents of that plan say it would have lowered electric bills by $2 billion over the life of the project while creating thousands of jobs during its construction and generated million in state tax revenue.

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Mike Averill


Twitter: @Mike_Averill