OG&E Considers Adding 80 Megawatts of Wind Power

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OG&E Electric Services said Monday it is exploring adding another 80 megawatts of wind-generated electricity to its system and has issued a request for proposals from companies that produce electricity from wind.

It has been over a year since we last requested bids to determine the cost of adding wind to our system, said company spokesman Brian Alford. In that time, we've seen gas prices continue to rise, as well as the extension of federal renewable energy tax credits. From a dollars-and-cents standpoint, now is a good time to look at adding more wind and to weigh its value to customers.

In 2003, OG&E contracted with FPL Energy for 50 megawatts of electricity generated at a wind farm near Woodward. Now, after more than a year of marketing wind power to residential and business customers, almost 9,000 have subscribed for all or part of their electricity usage.

Enrollment in our wind program has been impressive, and we thank our customers for embracing green power, Alford said. Their support has given us time to experience the operational and economical issues surrounding use of wind-generated energy.

Alford said OG&E would use the proposal responses to conduct a thorough analysis of how adding more wind power would affect the system.

A statement released by the company said a final decision was expected in the first quarter of 2005.

With the extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit in September, capacity installations in 2005 look likely to beat all previous records, the American Wind Energy Association said in its most recent quarterly U.S. market outlook. The previous high for new wind power capacity installations in one year was 1,696 megawatts in 2001. …