OG&E wraps wind farm development purchase; Siemens turbine supply deal in effect

Source: OG&E

OG&E (NYSE:OGE) announced that it has completed the purchase of all of the project development assets needed to begin construction of the Crossroads wind farm in northwestern Oklahoma, triggering a turbine-supply agreement with Siemens and enabling Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) to begin construction later this month. 

The $451 million project, approved July 29 by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, will add 227.5 megawatts of renewable generating capacity to the OG&E fleet, with 95 turbines rated at 2.3 megawatts each, plus three 3-megawatt, direct-drive turbines representing the next generation of renewable energy technology. Upon completion of the wind farm in the second half of 2011, Crossroads will bring OG&E's wind capability to 780 megawatts, which will amount to approximately 10 percent of the company's total generating capacity. 

"We are excited to move forward on this project, which we have negotiated on very favorable terms for OG&E's customers," said Jesse Langston, vice president of utility commercial operations. "By its third year in operation, we expect Crossroads to be delivering net savings to our customers for the balance of the project's 25-year expected life. This is possible because of the excellent business partnerships we have formed with RES Americas and Siemens, and also due to the constructive regulatory environment we have in Oklahoma." 

The Crossroads wind farm will be built in Dewey County near Canton and will connect with OG&E's new Windspeed transmission line, energized earlier this year to deliver wind power to Oklahoma City and across OG&E's 30,000-square-mile electric service area. 

For Siemens, Crossroads is the company's third project with OG&E. "This effort marks our strong commitment to a continued, successful relationship with OG&E," said Jan Kjaersgaard, vice president and general manager of Siemens Energy Wind Power Americas. "Furthermore, Siemens looks forward to installing its first three SWT-3.0-101 direct drive wind turbines in the United States, coming only a few months after the market release of this new, gearless technology. Dewey County will become a showcase for this exciting new technology." 

The development of the Crossroads Wind Project site began nearly three years ago. The project includes over 100 landowners and was initially undertaken by Arrowhead Wind Energy, an Oklahoma based wind energy development firm. RES Americas has assumed responsibility for the completion of all development activities. 

Brian Evans, executive vice president of development for RES Americas, said RES is "committed to providing clean, renewable energy solutions to the nation and economic benefits to the local communities in which we operate." Crossroads, he said, represents a number of firsts for RES Americas. "This is our first project in Oklahoma and our first time working with direct-drive wind turbine technology. We look forward to our partnership with OG&E to bring energy independence to the Sooner State." 

OG&E, which serves approximately 779,000 customers in a service territory spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, is a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp.

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