Oklahoma’s 103MW natural gas plant begins operations

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Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority recently dedicated a $90 million natural gas plant in a ceremony, north of Ponca City. The Charles D. Lamb Energy Center is a 103MW plant powered by a simple-cycle turbine using natural gas and is the state's first natural-gas fired power plant since 2011.

The Charles D. Lamb Energy Center is designed to run mostly as a peaking unit for times when the grid needs additional power, such as hot summer days. The generating plant began operations May 16. The next day, it was called on to operate by the Southwest Power Pool, which operates a power market and transmission for Oklahoma and seven other states.


OMPA said it chose the site because of its proximity to an existing natural gas pipeline operated by Southern Star Gas and a recently built 345-kilovolt transmission line owned by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. The 160-acre site also has room for expansion, with the possible addition of a combined-cycle unit in the future. Funding for the plant came from $133 million in state revenue bonds issued in 2013.

Planning for the plant began in 2011, and the authority's board of directors approved it in December 2012, and its construction took about 15 months. Dave Osburn, OMPA's general manager said, "We had a $115 million budget for this project, and we came in well under that."

The authority generates electricity at 12 plants for 39 cities, including Edmond, Duncan and Altus. It has a gas-fired power plant in Ponca City that will continue operations. The new plant will be used only in peak demand times, usually during summer.