OGE TOGETHER | Why We Must Upgrade Our Infrastructure


Why We Must Upgrade Our Infrastructure

The Limitations Of The Status Quo

On May 5, 1950, at 2:17 a.m.—with no pomp or circumstance—OG&E engineers switched on the new Mustang generating station. Slowly, the first 56,000-kilowatt generator was put online without a hitch, to serve customers throughout Oklahoma and western Arkansas. And it served them well for six decades.

But times, and needs, have changed. Dramatically. It’s no secret that in the ’50s, families possibly had one TV, a radio and small refrigerators or appliances. Today, more than 90 billion kWh are used to power televisions and set-top cable boxes, annually—by themselves.

These enormous, instant power demands require technology that acts in minutes, not hours, to keep prices lower and power reliable for every customer. The thinkers and doers at OG&E saw the need and put a plan in place: the Mustang Energy Center (MEC).

A Mustang Minute with Jean Leger: Driving Innovation

Jean uses the analogy of an antique classic car vs. the latest model to explain why boiler technology just wasn't going to get us there.

On Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, with a computer keystroke, OG&E CEO Sean Trauschke and Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas fired the jet engine turbine in one of the seven new 462-megawatt Mustang Energy Center combustion generators. Within 10 minutes it reached peak power—rather than the 20+ hours it used to take the utility’s old steam generators—and ushered in a new era of reliability, resiliency and sustainability. It not only continues our promise to keep customers and companies in power, but it’s proof positive of our commitment to empower economic growth throughout the region.

These old units were bigger, there's more mass and steel to heat up to get them efficient. The new combustion turbines are lighter. That's why they can start up so fast.

-Tony Shook, Director, Mustang Energy Center, OG&E

A Mustang Minute with Don Rowlett: No Rate Increase With MEC

Tax reform means our innovated MEC generates competitive growth opportunities for our communities—while keeping our rates among the nation's lowest.

Staying Competitive, Growing Communities

It’s a fact: Americans make up roughly 4.5% of the world's population, yet we consume nearly 20% of its energy. And the demand is only rising, exponentially. In order to keep growing urban and rural areas, electricity is the lifeblood that attracts and supports new business opportunities and new community construction.

Simply stated, affordable and reliable electricity is the heartbeat of local and statewide economy. It is critical to economic growth.

The new change in tax law, tax reform, provides tremendous benefits. In particular, our industrial customers and residential customers won’t see any rate increase.

-Don Rowlett, Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs, OG&E

The Mustang Energy Center is an attractive incentive for industry and families. The new units not only ensure reliable, affordable power for businesses, but also reduce our carbon footprint, and offer a significantly improved ability to respond to energy resources that only work in certain conditions—such as wind and solar. And the investment in the Mustang Energy Center more than doubles our contribution to the local tax base. That is millions of additional dollars benefiting local schools and communities.

Even better, most customers will see no monthly bill increase with the added power and economic leverage of the MEC thanks to the benefits of federal tax reform. And if you didn’t know, OG&E’s rates today are more than 20 percent below the national average.

Mustang Fact
The seven state-of-the-art, natural gas-fired units sit next to Oklahoma’s first universal solar farm. That means the Mustang Energy Center has an important role in balancing grid reliability and renewable energy sources for years to come.

The MEC’s New Technology Joins ‘The Grid’

The Mustang Energy Center’s combustion turbines are now part of an expansive and powerful network—featuring nearly 5,200 miles of transmission lines and 55,500 miles of overhead and underground distribution lines—delivering electricity across 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.

In many ways, this electricity grid is similar to the national roads and highway system. OG&E operates a series of handoffs between higher voltage transmission lines to lower voltage distribution lines that are located on overhead poles and buried underground.

In short, it takes quite an effort to move electricity where it’s needed. Think about the miles of lines and hundreds of thousands of poles, the countless switches and fuses. And as the population and demand for power continues to increase, as well as the development of alternative energy options, OG&E responsibly adds to the grid. For instance, we’ve added hundreds of miles of transmission lines to deliver wind power to the new MEC, keeping our customers and the 14-state Southwest Power Pool in power.

Oklahoma is growing. And we’re proud to play our part. With that, Oklahomans are also using more electricity every year. That’s why adding the quick-start technology at the Mustang Energy Center to our energy grid is so critical—to harness renewable energy more efficiently, to react to power demands more rapidly and to meet any demand head-on. Today, and tomorrow.

A Mustang Minute with Donnie Jones: Reliability 24/7/365

To Donnie Jones, the new Mustang Energy Center is simply about technology, and how it's more nimble and responsive to the changing energy grid.

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