OGE Energy Corp. and Electric Transmission America (ETA), a joint venture of subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., announced that the companies have formed Horizon Transmission LLC to construct high-capacity transmission line projects in western Oklahoma.
"Oklahoma again has an opportunity to grow its economy while delivering a highly valued resource to our region," said Pete Delaney, chairman, president and CEO of OGE Energy Corp. "This time, it's the clean and renewable energy resource provided by the consistent winds present in western Oklahoma." OGE will own 50 percent of the Horizon Transmission LLC joint venture.
"OGE has joined with two strong and experienced partners to enable us to continue to provide stewardship over the construction, operation and maintenance of transmission critical to the development of Oklahoma's wind resources," Delaney said. "These extra-high voltage lines will not only help unlock the wind potential and opportunities for investment in Oklahoma, but also will provide a valuable renewable source of electricity to Oklahoma's utility customers."
Separately, OGE's Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) subsidiary already is proposing to build a 345-kV transmission line between Woodward and northwest Oklahoma City. That line is targeted for completion in 2010.
The new partnership announced today will allow the companies to lead development of renewable wind by sharing capital costs associated with the planned transmission construction. Work on the Horizon projects is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2009 and is targeted for completion by the end of 2013.
The Horizon projects are subject to creation by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) of a cost allocation method that would spread costs across the SPP region. The project also requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). OG&E may seek approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The Horizon partnership's initial projects will include 765-kV lines from Woodward 120 mi northwest to Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle and from Woodward 50 mi north to the Kansas border. An SPP study estimates cost for the two projects at about $500 million.
All the projects underscore the role of Woodward as an important hub of wind generation, forming the intersection of key transmission facilities capable of collecting power generated by wind and transporting it to markets both within and outside the region.
"The Horizon Partnership, by combining the strength of both organizations, is well positioned to build this complex transmission infrastructure. OG&E will contribute its expertise in right of way, operations and maintenance while AEP will provide engineering design and construction oversight," Delaney said. "Through Horizon Transmission LLC, we intend to expedite completion of these projects while avoiding the burden of stand-alone capital costs associated with constructing 765-kV transmission."
In May, ETA formed a similar joint venture with Westar Energy Inc. to build 765-kV lines between Spearville, Kan., and the Oklahoma border north of Woodward. That project, named Prairie Wind Transmission LLC, is proposing to build approximately 230 mi of transmission facilities from Wichita, Kan., west to near Dodge City, Kan., and then south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border near Medicine Lodge, Kan. The estimated cost of that project is $600 million.
The Horizon Transmission and Prairie Wind Transmission projects encompass the first two segments of the Extra-High-Voltage Overlay Study plan released in March by the SPP.