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University of Oklahoma, OG&E tout wind power partnership

by Silas Allen Published: February 19, 2013

Today, OU buys about 85 percent of its power from OG&E, Ellis said. The university generates the remaining 15 percent of its power on campus.

The university has two natural gas-fueled power plants — a plant at the corner of Jenkins Avenue and Felgar Street that dates back to 1947, and a second at the corner of Jenkins Avenue and Lindsey Street that was completed in September.

The new plant isn't fully operational, Ellis said, but university officials hope it will allow them to shut down the old plant in the next five years. Ellis said he expects the new plant to be more efficient than the one built in 1947.

“Obviously, technology has changed quite a bit since then,” he said.

The transition to wind power hasn't caused a noticeable change in how the university operates, Ellis said. However, it could help the university weather another spike in energy prices such as the one the nation saw in 2008.

Ellis said he thinks OU's wind power initiative is a model that could be used elsewhere. He noted that Oklahoma State University recently launched a similar agreement with OG&E to build the OSU Cowboy Wind Farm near Blackwell.

“It's shown that wind power can be a viable option in this state,” Ellis said. “For the long term, it is going to be beneficial for us.”