STILLWATER — One of the state's newest wind farms now generates a lot of Orange Power.
Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma State University officials and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. executives flipped ceremonial switches in Stillwater Friday to mark the completion of the Cowboy Wind Farm near Blackwell.
The project has 26 turbines and a total capacity of almost 60 megawatts. One megawatt can power about 250 homes. The wind farm began commercial operations in January and will supply electricity to the OSU campus.
“This is a great day for Oklahoma State University and I think a great day for Oklahoma,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “It's very significant in our effort to be a more sustainable, green campus. As you know, our students have been very adamant about moving in that direction.”
OSU has been an aggressive adopter of energy-efficiency efforts. The university has saved more than $22 million through energy conservation efforts since 2007. OSU also has converted all its transit and community buses to compressed natural gas and added 90 new CNG vehicles to its fleet.
Fallin, an OSU alumna, said she's asked other state universities to follow OSU's lead in energy efficiency. The governor and Legislature last year directed state agencies to reduce their energy consumption 20 percent by 2022, with estimated savings of up to $300 million for Oklahoma taxpayers.
“We're using all types of energy production in our state, but wind power and renewable energy are certainly key components,” Fallin said. “Oklahoma has some of the best wind resources in the whole nation.”
Oklahoma now ranks sixth in the nation for wind power capacity, up from eighth place in 2011, according to federal and industry statistics.
Pete Delaney, chairman, president and CEO of OGE Energy Corp., said the addition of the Cowboy Wind Farm means renewable energy now represents about 12 percent of OG&E's generating capacity. The utility has about 840 megawatts of wind capacity across seven wind farms in western and northwestern Oklahoma.
“Wind is an important part of our generation portfolio,” Delaney said. “We do believe in a diverse portfolio: wind, natural gas and coal. We believe for the long term, we need to have it all to keep a reliable and affordable supply for our country.”
Delaney said the Cowboy Wind Farm is just the latest in a series of partnerships between OG&E and OSU. The utility funds scholarships and professorships. OSU's Oklahoma City campus offers the state's only four-year wind technician program.