State regulators have signed off on Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s acquisition of a coal-fired power plant in the southeastern part of the state.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission unanimously approved OG&E’s deal to buy the 360-MW AES Shady Point plant near Poteau and the 146-MW Oklahoma Cogeneration LLC facility in Oklahoma City for approximately $53 million. Both units supplied power capacity to OG&E customers for three decades under a federally mandated power purchase deal.
Last year, OG&E announced it was ending the PPA with Shady Point because the economics of the agreement did not work out. The utility actually talked about a request for outside proposals before opting to make a bid to buy the plant from AES Corp.
AES also said it might close Shady Point this year because of the end of the PPA. The plant employs close to 100 people in an area with some of the highest unemployment rates in Oklahoma.
"These acquisitions create a win-win on multiple fronts," said OG&E spokesman Brian Alford. "Our customers will save tens of millions of dollars each year by eliminating costly, federally mandated agreements. The Shady Point acquisition will help maintain grid stability as growth continues in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. It also ensures many jobs will be preserved in an economically challenged region.”
The Oklahoma Cogeneration acquisition will also maintain gas-fired generation capacity for the utility, he added.
The Oklahoma City-based utility has been successful in cutting its emissions profile and plans to reduce its carbon dioxide output 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. OG&E’s sulfur dioxide emissions are nearly 90 percent lower from 2005 levels, Alford said, while nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide are already about 75 and 40 percent lower.
"As we integrate Shady Point into our fleet, we will use our expertise to enhance the operation of this facility to further reduce emissions," Alford said.
OG&E has about 852,000 electric customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. It is part of OGE Energy Corp.