The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has granted approval to Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E), a subsidiary of OGE Energy (NYSE:OGE), for a dry scrubber installation project at the Sooner coal plant.
Sooner is a roughly 1,100-MW coal plant. The company had asked the OCC in February for an expedited approval of the estimated $500m installation of dry scrubbers on the two units at Sooner, which is located in Noble County, Oklahoma.
The vote to approve the environmental project occurred April 28. Commissioner Dana Murphy issued a statement that day saying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was leaving Oklahoma little choice but to approve the project.
“The case before us today is the result of the federal EPA forcing a public utility in Oklahoma to make costly changes to comply with a federal plan imposed on Oklahoma for regional haze,” Murphy said, adding that Oklahomans were being squeezed by “Big Brother.”
OG&E had requested the Commission approve installation of two dry scrubbers at the Sooner Plant to comply with the federal Regional Haze rule, with cost recovery to be determined in a later case. OG&E’s request and the Commission’s granting of that request are consistent with meeting what the federal law requires.
Murphy said Oklahoma needed to take the step to preserve coal as a baseload energy source.
“It helps avoid the trap of relying on only one main fuel source for baseload electric generation when that fuel source is subject to market forces and speculation. While wind and solar are an important part of that mix and should continue to grow in Oklahoma, they’re intermittent so they can’t currently meet the State’s critical need for electricity on a 24/7 basis,” Murphy said.