Alternative energy gains wind

Already the largest provider of wind-generated electrical power in the state, Public Service Company of Oklahoma is aiming to up the ante.
PSO submitted to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission this month plans to promote Oklahoma wind energy through two separate initiatives: the Green Energy Choice Tariff and the Wind and Solar Manufacturer Tariff.
Roughly 12 percent of the power PSO supplies is from the 600 megawatts of wind power the company has under long-term contract. The proposed Green Energy Choice Tariff will create a voluntary program in which customers will be allowed to increase that amount in blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours, up to 2,000 kwh per month.
Customers who sign up for additional wind energy would pay $2.85 for every 100 kwh subscribed. Given that the average household consumes 1,200 to 1,300 kwh per month, it would cost around $35 to completely convert a household’s energy consumption to wind power.
While the cost may be high, so is the benefit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, coal-fired power plants produce roughly two pounds of carbon dioxide — thought to be one of the leading causes of global warming — per kwh, while natural gas-fired plants produce 1.3 pounds per kwh. Therefore, the average PSO residential customer produces between one and 0.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per month, accounting for the 12 percent of electricity already supplied by wind.
PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford said customers recognize the possible impact.
“We’ve been getting calls for the last several years from customers wondering if they could sign up for additional wind energy,” he said. “There have also been recent surveys in which 80 percent of Oklahomans supported increased wind energy, and 70 percent said they would be willing to pay more for it, so the demand is there.”
The company also submitted, in a separate proposal, the Wind and Solar Manufacturer Tariff, which would allow PSO to offer a three-year discount on electricity for wind or solar equipment manufacturers to expand or locate new production facilities in PSO’s service area.
“PSO’s proposed initiatives seek to capitalize on Oklahoma’s abundant wind and solar resources, as well as the state’s central location in the nation to attract manufacturers of wind and solar industry equipment,” said Janet Smith, PSO’s manager of economic development.
As of now, there is no specific timetable for the OCC to act on PSO’s proposals, although the company is hoping for approval in the next few months.
PSO is a unit of American Electric Power and serves about 527,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma.

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