OGE Energy Corp. and Electric Transmission America will enter into a joint venture to build 765-kilovolt lines in western Oklahoma to support wind generation, officials from both companies announced Tuesday.
OGE will own 50 percent of the venture to be known as Horizon Transmission LLC. The estimated cost of the project is $500 million, said Brian Alford, spokesman for OGE Energy and its subsidiary Oklahoma Gas & Electric.
Oklahoma Energy Secretary David Fleischaker called it “one of the most important – if not the most important – announcements by our electric utilities in the last 25 years. The construction of these high-capacity transmission lines in western Oklahoma will transform the energy landscape for our state and the nation by bringing large amounts of wind-generated electricity to the marketplace.”
OGE last year announced its intent to quadruple its wind power and at that time proposed 345-kilovolt lines from northwest Oklahoma City to Woodward to help facilitate that development and other wind development projects in the far northwest region.
“This particular part of the state is transmission constrained, making it very difficult for wind developers to bring their projects on line simply because there’s a lack of transmission resources in that area,” Alford said.
Horizon will put up lines from Woodward 120 miles northwest to Guymon and from Woodward 50 miles north to the Kansas border.
Electric Transmission America is a joint venture of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings. AEP is the partner company of Public Service Company of Oklahoma, the Tulsa-based utility.
“This partnership allows the companies to be leaders in these renewable projects while sharing the capital costs associated with the transmission necessary to move the power out of the region,” Alford said. “This is separate and apart from the Woodward-to-northwest Oklahoma City project.”
Alford said the goal for completion of the Woodward-Oklahoma lines is 2010 and the goal for the latest lines is 2013.
Pete Delaney, chairman, president and chief executive officer of OGE Energy Corp., said the company is partnering with the right companies.
“These extra-high-voltage lines will not only help unlock the wind potential and opportunities for investment in Oklahoma, but also will provide a valuable renewable source of electricity to Oklahoma’s utility customers,” Delaney said.
The Horizon projects are subject to creation by the Southwest Power Pool of a cost allocation method that would spread costs across the SPP region, Alford said. The project will require approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In addition, OG&E may seek Oklahoma Corporation Commission approval.
by Jerry Shottenkirk
16 July 2008
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