Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) is a regulated electric utility company and subsidiary of OGE Energy Corporation that serves approximately 754,840 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, and a number of wholesale customers throughout the region. OG&E is the largest electric utility in the state of Oklahoma, with an interconnected transmission and distribution system spanning 30000 square miles.
OGE Energy Power portfolio
Out of its total 6,964 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (0.65% of the U.S. total), OGE produced 59.0% from natural gas and 41.0% from coal. All of OGE's power plants are in Oklahoma.
Coal-fired power plants
|Plant Name||State||County||Year(s) Built||Capacity||Status|
|Muskogee||OK||Muskogee||1977, 1978, 1984||1716 MW||Operating, 2 units converted to natural gas.|
|Sooner||OK||Noble||1979, 1980||1138 MW||Operating|
|River Valley||OK||Le Flore||1990||350 MW||Operating|
Canceled Coal Plants
In January 2007, OG&E filed a six-year construction plan with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for the Red Rock Generating Facility. The plan included the construction of a 950 MW generating plant that would be owned in partnership with AEP-Public Service Company of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.
The Oklahoma State Legislature approved the process in 2005. Chesapeake Energy Corp, the third largest independent gas producer in the US, and the Quality of Service Coalition, a group of utility consumers and cities that purchase power from a subsidiary of American Electric Power, asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop the Oklahoma Corporation Commission from considering pre-approval of the Red Rock Plant.
On Sept. 10, 2007, with a 2-1 vote, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission denied the pre-approval permit for the plant, arguing that the utilities had not proven that they had sufficiently explored alternative forms of energy. Oklahoma State Treasurer Scott Meacham also appeared in newspaper advertisements critical of the project. On Oct. 11, the sponsors announced that they were discontinuing the project.
Clean Air Act Regulations
As of December 2009 OG&E is fighting the construction of mandated pollution controls at two of its coal plants. As required by 1992’s federal Clean Air Act, states must reduce sulfurous emissions that hamper visibility, such as OG&E plants contributing to the "regional haze” at Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuges. Lessening the haze would require the construction of scrubbers at the OG&E plants. However, OG&E has argued that the scrubbers would be very expensive, and has proposed a cheaper alternative, but it has been rejected for not meeting EPA regulations. OG&E has said they will reach the desired emission level by 2026 by switching to natural gas, instead of coal, to generate the majority of its electricity, and that installing scrubbers will only encourage the continued use of coal plants.
The Sierra Club also backs the company's complaint stating that installing scrubbers at an estimated cost of $1 billion may delay the company's transition from coal to natural gas. The scrubbers would reduce sulfurous emissions that contribute to regional haze, however the scrubbers would not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
On May 19, 2011, it was announced that Oklahoma Gas and Electric will pay $300,000 to the state Department of Environmental Quality for violating clean air regulations. Company spokesman Brian Alford said OG&E officials had been talking to DEQ about how to interpret regulations dealing with opacity - the measurement of how much light passes through smoke from a coal plant. OG&E agreed to reduce emissions from its coal plants, which DEQ indicated had repeatedly violated opacity standards since 2005. DEQ filed a lawsuit on May 17 in Oklahoma County District Court against OG&E over the violations, along with a consent order reflecting a settlement in the case. OG&E will pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and contribute an additional $150,000 to DEQ’s Small Community Supplemental Environmental Project Fund, as well as taking steps to reduce emissions.
Articles and Resources
- "OGE: Our Companies" OGE Website, August 2009.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
- Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
- Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
- "OG&E Announces 6-Year Construction Initiative", OG&E corporate website, January 17, 2007.
- "Red Rock Coal-Fired Power Plant on the Road to Rejection", The Journal Record, September 11, 2007.
- "Comment from Chesapeake Energy Corporation Concerning Decision Regarding the Red Rock Power Plant", Business Wire, September 11, 2007.
- Statement of Position of Quality of Service Coalition, Legal Filing, accessed January 2008. (Pdf)
- OCC Denies Application for Red Rock Plant, AEP corporate website, September 10, 2007.
- "State Treasurer Chimes In On Oklahoma Red Rock Proposal", CoalControl blog, September 6, 2007.
- “OG&E Says Unit Ends Plan to Build Oklahoma Power Plant", Reuters, October 11, 2007.
- Jay Marks,"Oklahoma electricity regulation causes debate for some" NewsOk, December 16, 2009
- Oklahoma electricity regulation causes debate for some, Jay F. Marks, NewsOK.com, accessed December 16, 2009.
- Jay Marks, "OG&E to pay $300K over emissions violations" NewsOk, May 19, 2011.