Oklahoma Officials Seek Planning Guidance in Wind Power Study

Article excerpt

For $50,000, Oklahoma can get the same kind of comprehensive study Kansas got from Southwest Power Pool on the state's wind power resource. The plan could be finished by spring 2008 and would provide the guidance state leaders need to form a plan for new electricity generation and transmission upgrades. With the information provided by the study, policymakers hope to retain Oklahoma's position as the regional leader in wind power.

Kansas worked with regional transmission organization SPP to figure out what role the state would play in SPP's plan for expanding transmission capabilities in the region over the next decade. As part of a 10-year, $1.4 billion transmission expansion plan for the region, SPP's "X Plan" is designed to build wind generation capacity throughout the Central and South Plains area in the shape of an x.

SPP has a system in place to help companies that build electricity transmission infrastructure recoup their costs for certain projects that would advance the goals of the regional electricity transmission system. A statewide study by SPP would thus help electricity providers in Oklahoma make better financial decisions in planning future upgrades.

Currently, Oklahoma has the most capacity in the region for wind generation installed, at 686 megawatts, according to Jay Caspary, director of engineering for the Southwest Power Pool. Both Kansas and Texas have 360 megawatts of wind generation installed, followed by New Mexico with 200 megawatts. Over the next few years, Texas is expected to catch up to Oklahoma in wind generation.

Oklahoma has another 1,089 megawatts of wind generation with interconnection agreements planned for the near future, while Texas has another 1,286 megawatts planned. …