OMPA updates progress on natural gas peaking unit

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) is moving ahead with plans to develop a new natural gas peaking plant near Ponca City, Okla.

OMPA held a public briefing on plans for the roughly 103-MW Charles D. Lamb Energy Center on May 14. According to published accounts of the briefing, OMPA will start construction on the plant in early 2014 with plans to bring it online in 2015. The single-unit plant will use Siemens technology. Sargent & Lundy is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

“We have some purchase contracts that are expiring and we have some load growth,” an OMPA representative told GenerationHub May 17.

In August 2012, OMPA saw a peak demand record of just over 811 MW. OMPA gets roughly 80% of its power from owned generation and 20% from power contracts, the official said.

In 2013, the OMPA power mix is expected to be 42% coal, 30% natural gas and 28% renewables, including hydro.

The peaking plant will be constructed on a greenfield site comprised of 160 acres located in Kay County, Okla.

The site was selected because of its access to a 345-kV transmission line and the availability of a natural gas pipeline, according to the OMPA website.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has been taking comment on the construction permit application for the plant.

The OMPA Board voted to name the facility the Charles D. Lamb Energy Center after current Board Chair Charles Lamb.  Since 2001, Lamb has served as the board chair and is the longest tenured elected official to serve as chair.

OMPA is a wholesale power company owned by 39 municipal electric utilities.

According to its website, it owns and operates the 29-MW Kaw hydroelectric plant. It also owns some small gas units and renewable units, the OMPA official said. OMPA also and also owns a minority interest in various large coal and natural gas power plants in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. OMPA also owns a stake the Turk coal plant commissioned last yera by an American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) subsidiary.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.