PSO plans to buy renewable energy

Tuesday, November 2nd 2004, 11:46 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Public Service Co. of Oklahoma has announced plans to add renewable energy to its portfolio in a diversification move.

PSO, the state's second-largest electric utility, announced Monday it would buy as much as 250 megawatts of green-power electricity, perhaps as soon as late next year.

PSO requested renewable energy developers submit proposed bids on generation projects by Dec. 1 and would like to have contracts signed by early March. The company is hoping to take advantage of federal renewable energy production tax credits that expire at the end of 2005.

``We thought this proposal would help spur companies who are interested in competing for business to get going on that while we have this window of opportunity,'' PSO spokesman Jeff Rennie said.

The Tulsa-based company in June announced plans to buy 106.5 megawatts from a wind farm planned in Weatherford.

Wind farms generally cost about $1 million per megawatt to build, and most other renewable options require similar investments.

Steve Stadler, president of the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council, said PSO's investment could lead to strong growth in the state _ particularly in rural areas.

Kylah McNabb, coordinator for the Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative, said the group was ``excited'' about the move.

``This announcement further shows that renewables are now at an economic level to be competitive with traditional energy,'' McNabb said. ``That's incredible support for an emerging industry in the state.''

Three other Oklahoma utilities _ Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority _ commissioned wind power projects in 2003 that generate a combined 276 megawatts.