Oklahoma State University (OSU) has announced that it is teaming up with Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) to bring wind power to the school’s Stillwater campus. OSU and OG&E have filed an application with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for regulatory approval of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that will enable the school to purchase power from a proposed 60-megawatt (MW) wind farm near Blackwell, Okla.
The wind farm will be built by NextEra Energy Resources, which acquired the project from community wind developer Own Energy in November. NextEra is also responsible for the 100.8-MW Google-backed Minco II wind project, located southwest of Oklahoma City.
Since launching its Energy Conservation Program in 2007, OSU has saved $17.5 million by installing building and lighting automation systems, digital utility meters and vending machine controls across its five campuses. The university also has fleet buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). When combined with a new, more efficient boiler system slated to replace OSU’s existing 62-year-old cogeneration facility, the school expects to realize significant cost savings over the contract term of the wind PPA. The savings, like those realized through energy conservation, can be used to support research and educational pursuits.
“As a land-grant university, we have a historic responsibility to lead the way when it comes to using our natural resources wisely and efficiently,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “The signing of this agreement with OG&E is part of our overarching sustainability initiative aimed at saving money, reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency. Natural gas and wind are two abundant natural resources in Oklahoma, and using them together to generate power for our Stillwater campus enables us to achieve a higher level of environmental stewardship while also supporting Oklahoma’s all-important energy-driven economy.”