PONCA CITY — Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority plans to begin construction next year on the state's first natural-gas fired power plant since 2011 on property north of Ponca City.
Wind farms have provided most of the added electricity generation capacity in Oklahoma in the last several years, but the Charles D. Lamb Energy Center will be a 103-megawatt plant powered by a simple-cycle turbine using natural gas.
The authority plans to start construction on the $115 million plant by January, with completion expected by spring 2015. It issued almost $133 million in revenue bonds in January to pay for the plant and other capital projects.
“We're always looking out 15 years to see if we have adequate power resources,” General Manager Cindy Holman said Tuesday at a public meeting in Ponca City. “We need to have additional resources starting in 2015, and so that's the purpose of our construction of the plant north of Ponca City.”
The authority generates electricity at 12 plants for 39 cities, including Edmond, Duncan and Altus. It has a gas-fired power plant in Ponca City that will continue operations.
“That site is almost locked in by a residential-type area,” said David Osborn, the authority's assistant general manager. “With our load growth, we really needed a larger unit in an area we could eventually over time expand and grow into.”
The new plant will be used only in peak demand times, usually during the daytime in summer when customers use a lot of electricity for air conditioning and other uses. Officials said it will be able to be turned on and ready to generate power in about 25 minutes.