“These forecast savings reflect the fact that prices under these contracts are at historically low levels and are expected to remain far lower than the forecast price of natural gas and the wind energy it is expected to replace,” said Scott Norwood, an energy consultant for OIEC.
Norwood said approval of the wind contracts would be independent of PSO’s environmental compliance plan that would phase out the last of its Oklahoma coal units by 2026.
“The company’s economic analysis indicates that the wind energy purchases will displace very little of the energy produced from the company’s coal-fired units,” he said.
With the new wind contracts, PSO will have 1,137 megawatts of wind capacity. One megawatt can power about 200 homes at peak demand times.
“The proposed contracts are expected to benefit PSO's customers by enhancing fuel diversity and by providing a guaranteed low-cost source of energy for 20 years, which will serve to significantly reduce PSO's system energy costs,” Norwood said.
The new wind farms will be developed by three companies. Apex Clean Energy Inc. will build the Balko project in Beaver County. NextEra Energy Resources LLC will develop the Seiling wind farm in Dewey County, and TradeWind Energy Inc. will build the Goodwell project in Texas County.