More than simply complying with regulatory requirements, we ensure our plants operate as efficiently and reliably as possible to reduce emissions and deliver dependable, low-cost electricity to our customers.
In our more than 117 years of providing power to Oklahoma and western Arkansas, our generation fleet has evolved to meet the demands of all those we serve within our communities.
Knowing that air emissions are a byproduct of using fossil fuels to generate electricity, we’ve put technology and practices in place that make a meaningful contribution to improving our ambient air quality footprint. With a commitment to compliance with regulatory requirements, we ensure our plants operate as efficiently and reliably as possible to reduce emissions yet continue to deliver reliable, low-cost electricity to our customers.
OG&E continuously reviews plans to meet the increasing demands of its customers and a growing state with newer, more efficient and lower-emitting technology. Approximately 1,700 megawatts, or nearly one-quarter of the generating fleet under OG&E’s operational control consists of high efficiency natural gas-fueled combined cycle turbines.
We’ve also added more than 840 MW of wind power. In 2017, OG&E wind energy accounted for 14 percent of Oklahoma’s total wind capacity. In 2015, we added 2.5 MW of small-scale universal solar energy to our generating fleet, and in 2018, we completed a new 10-megawatt solar power plant in Covington, OK, capable of generating enough electricity to serve the needs of over 10,000 average Oklahoma homes. Subscriptions to our solar capacity were sold out before the Covington project was finished.
Through the years, emissions have dropped more than 40 percent for the key pollutants from our generating fleet. Over the next few years, we’ll continue to reduce emissions and carbon intensity through our investment of more than $700 million in emissions control improvements at our power plants and a conversion of 40 percent of our coal-fueled fleet to natural gas beginning in 2019. As we begin 2019, we expect sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions to be lower by nearly 90 percent, nitrogen oxide (NOx) to be lower by nearly 75 percent, carbon dioxide (CO2) to be lower by approximately 40 percent and mercury to be lower by 80 percent.
Each of our plants uses state-of-the-art, EPA-certified Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS), which measure the products of combustion in our power plants around the clock. An integral part of our emission reduction strategy, CEMS allows us to verify compliance and quantify the emission reductions we invest in on behalf of our communities. The sensitivity is remarkable – for example, CEMS measures the presence of mercury down to parts per billion (ppb) levels. A concentration of 1 ppb is roughly equivalent to 1 second in 32 years.
Emissions data from OG&E’s fossil generation fleet is reported on an on-going basis to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) as well as the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is publicly available here: https://ampd.epa.gov/ampd/
We know the steps we take today make an impact on the entire well-being of the communities we serve–whether it's providing cleaner air, lower cost energy or reliable electric delivery. It’s part of our commitment to balancing the delivery of reliable and reasonably priced electricity with our responsibility to the environment.
Our commitment to corporate stewardship begins with the belief that we're only as strong as the communities we serve.
OG&E’s commitment to being a responsible corporate steward of the environment is due to a blend of smart choices: fuel diversity, technology improvement, educational and community outreach and, going beyond compliance with regulatory requirements when beneficial to all stakeholders.
We have a dual responsibility to protect our natural resources and to provide safe, reliable and reasonably priced power.