Residential customers of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. could have an extra 90 cents added to their bills next year to pay for construction of a new wind farm near Woodward. The added cost would drop to 80 cents in 2011 if a proposed settlement deal is approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. OG&E announced the agreement Thursday after negotiations with commission staff and other interested parties. The new wind farm, which is due to be completed in December, is expected to help the University of Oklahoma achieve its goal of powering its Norman campus entirely from renewable sources by 2013.
Mutual benefitsThe proposed rider and proceeds from the sale of renewable energy credits to the university will cover the cost of the $270 million wind farm dubbed OU Spirit until a new rate increase is proposed in 2011, OG&E officials said. "Today’s settlement agreement is just the latest example of how collaboration among the parties can result in benefits for everyone,” said Howard Motley, vice president of regulatory affairs for OG&E. "We have succeeded in finding the way to build and pay for a new wind farm that benefits our customers, the university and our entire state for many years to come.” The settlement agreement included Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers, OG&E Share-holders Association and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, which represents the company’s customers. Once the 101-megawatt wind farm is completed, OG&E will have 270 megawatts of wind power for its customers. Two additional wind projects could push that figure to 550 megawatts by 2012, company officials said. That would represent about 7.6 percent of OG&E’s total generating capacity. OG&E serves more than 770,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.