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Okla. municipal utility agrees to buy 40 MW of wind power from Southern

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority has signed an agreement under which it will off-take the remaining 40 MW of capacity at a 147-MW wind facility in north Oklahoma that wrapped up construction in 2016.

The power purchase agreement between the muni and Southern Power Co. went into effect Jan. 1, according to a media release.

Sited near Oklahoma's border with Kansas, the Grant Plains Wind facility was developed by Apex Clean Energy Inc., which sold the wind farm to Southern Co. subsidiary Southern Power in August 2016. Apex still operates Grant Plains.

The 64-turbine facility previously secured power purchase agreements with two other companies. Steelcase Inc. signed an agreement for 25 MW from the wind farm in January 2017, while Allianz Risk Transfer (Bermuda) Ltd. picked up a contract for 81 MW the following April.

The muni, which is based in Edmond, Okla., also has its eye on other renewables projects. In a separate development, the muni is working to finalize a contract with the winning bidder of a request for proposals issued in May 2019 seeking between 75 MW and 100 MW of nameplate solar capacity. Melie Vincent, the director of operations for the muni, in an email confirmed that the negotiations are taking place but declined to disclose the name of the bidder or any further project details.

While that request for proposals also sought battery storage projects, Vincent said "the responses to our RFP did not yield any projects that made economic sense for our portfolio." The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority remains "committed to 2023 for a commercial operation date" for the installed solar capacity, Vincent added.

The American Wind Energy Association ranks Oklahoma third nationwide in terms of installed wind capacity, with a total of 8,072 MW already operational. Oklahoma has an additional 1,015 MW under construction and 2,435 MW in "advanced development," according to data from October 2019. Many of the projects that have been brought online are concentrated in the grassy prairies in the western region of the state.

The state has significantly less installed solar capacity, however. The Solar Energy Industries Association places Oklahoma near the bottom of the national rankings, with 36.85 MW of installed solar and just 0.09% of its electricity coming from that resource, according to association data current through the third quarter of 2019.