Two new wind farms planned in south-central Oklahoma will provide electricity to utilities in Arkansas and Nebraska, developers said.
Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. announced Monday it has struck a long-term agreement to sell 150 megawatts of wind energy to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.
That comes on the heels of Friday's announcement by EDP Renewables North America LLC, which will provide 100 megawatts of wind power from its Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm to Nebraska's Lincoln Electric System.
Kylah McNabb, renewable energy specialist at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said it is exciting to see new Oklahoma wind projects being developed to serve utilities in other states.
She said Oklahoma has not added any new wind generation this year, but there are more than 500 megawatts in announced projects under construction.
Those projects should be operational before the end of next year.
Oklahoma has 3,134 megawatts of installed wind capacity, which is good for sixth in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The state's wind potential of 516,822 megawatts in the ninth-best in the country, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
RES Americas is building a wind farm with 75 turbines in Murray and Carter counties. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2014.
All of the new wind farm's power will go to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., which provides electricity for more than 500,000 members of the state's 17 electric distribution cooperatives.
“The latest addition of 150 megawatts of low-cost wind energy provides AECC (Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.) with a hedge against fluctuating natural gas energy prices,” said Duane Highley, CEO of the Little Rock-based wholesale electricity supplier. “AECC will have 201 megawatts of wind energy in its generation assets with this addition.
“We will continue to pursue energy options that allow AECC's member cooperatives to provide reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost.”
EDP Renewables will build a 100-megawatt wind farm to provide power to Lincoln Electric Systems for 20 years. It is expected to be built in 2015.
Lincoln Electric Systems CEO Kevin Wailes said the wind farm will bring lower-cost power to the company's customers.
“We expect to begin realizing these savings in the first year, with the benefits increasing throughout the life of the contract,” he said.
Wailes said the Oklahoma wind will boost the company's renewable resource portfolio by 12 percent.
“By 2016, over 23 percent of LES' annual retail sales will be supplied by renewable resources, which includes wind, solar, hydro and landfill gas,” he said.
“Aside from the environmental benefits, increasing the amount of renewable energy in our power resource portfolio will help mitigate the adverse impact that additional regulations on power plant emissions and fuel and electric market volatility can have on our low rates.”
By 2016, over 23 percent of LES' annual retail sales will be supplied by renewable resources, which includes wind, solar, hydro and landfill gas.”
Lincoln Electric Systems CEO