Choosing Wind Power Gets Cheaper In Oklahoma

Here’s another sign of the growing competitiveness of wind power: An Oklahoma electric utility is taking a big whack out of the cost customers must pay if they want to get their energy from wind.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma, which serves more than a half-million customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, said it was lowering the cost of its WindChoice program by 40 percent. The company is also giving customers more flexibility on how much of their electricity they want to earmark as wind-sourced, allowing them to purchase 100 kilowatt-hour blocks or go with a percentage of their total monthly usage.

oklahoma wind power

Winco Energy Centers (image via NextEra Energy Resources)

“By providing a lower price and greater flexibility, we’re making it easier than ever for our customers to take advantage of and promote the tremendous energy resource that is our Oklahoma wind,” a spokesman said.

According to the company’s website, the extra charge for going with wind is a buck per 100 kilowatt-hours – the equivalent of one penny per kWh. That’s a steep drop from the $1.72/100-kWh price premium that was charged when the program began in 2011, according to NewsOK.

PSO said the WindChoice program uses energy produced at the 99-megawatt Minco Wind Farm [PDF], but of course that’s somewhat an accounting distinction; the wind farm feeds the grid just as a number of other plants do – and more wind is joining the PSO portfolio as costs come down.

Last year, Public Service set out to add 200 megawatts of wind to its portfolio, then, seeing the attractive price of wind power, decided to up that new amount to 600 MW. “The decision to contract for an additional 400 MW was based on extraordinary pricing opportunities that will lower costs for PSO’s customers by an estimated $53 million in the first year of the contracts,” the company said at the time.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • phor11

    “was based on extraordinary pricing opportunities that will lower costs for PSO’s customers by an estimated $53 million in the first year of the contracts.”
    So if they’re building out more wind due to a lower price-point, why are they charging people a higher price for the WindChoice program?

    • Pete D

      The new wind doesn’t come online until 2016.

      • phor11

        Ah, so it’s only the new projects that will be cheaper? Makes sense.

  • Peebles Squire

    Already the 6th largest producer of wind power in the country, with 10.5% of its electricity coming from wind, Oklahoma is an American success story in a time when we need the jobs, manufacturing, and economic growth from an energy source that produces zero pollution, uses no fuel, and keeps ratepayers happy.

    The success of the WindChoice program and a new lower price are indicative of wind power’s achievements in the Sooner State, where installed wind capacity powers nearly 1,000,000 average homes.

    Oklahomans are seeing the benefits of this clean, reliable resource, in a big way. Keep up the good work.

    Peebles Squire
    American Wind Energy Association

    • hljmesa

      And the folks in NE ?