Arkansas electric co-ops help dedicate wind farm


10-15-currents-1The Origin Wind Farm in Ardmore, Okla., a 17,000-acre facility that has been providing wind energy to electric co-op members in Arkansas since late 2014, was officially dedicated on Sept. 3.

The Origin Wind Farm is the largest of three wind farms that are part of the energy resource portfolio of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC), a Little Rock-based generation and transmission provider for Arkansas’ 17 electric distribution cooperatives. The farm features 75 state-of-the-art wind turbines, producing up to 150 megawatts of electricity. They stand over 150 feet tall and stretch out over miles of rolling hills, prairie grass and rocky terrain. The Origin site is one of the best in Oklahoma, spanning the counties of Carter, Garvin and Murray. Wind at this site averages between 6.5 to 7 miles per hour. Earlier this year, Oklahoma moved up to fourth in the nation for the amount of wind capacity installed, which now totals 3,782 megawatts.

The Origin Wind Farm is a $250-million project developed by Renewable Energy Systems America, LLC, based in Colorado. The proximity of the wind farm to the Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool’s regional transmission system greatly helped the speed of connecting this wind farm to the interstate power grid, ultimately allowing that wind energy to be served to Arkansas’ electric cooperative members. AECC has a 20-year, low-cost purchased power agreement to buy energy produced by the Origin farm.

Wind energy, hydroelectric, solar, coal and natural gas plants create a very diverse generation portfolio that supplies reliable, affordable and responsible electricity to Arkansas’ approximately 1.2 million electric cooperative members.

Celebrate the cooperative way

The utility that keeps your lights and appliances humming along every day is a cooperative business, not a corporation.

Cooperatives are owned by the consumers who use their services — you and your neighbors. In fact, your electric cooperative doesn’t ever refer to you as a “customer.” Instead, everyone who works there knows you are a “member.”
Every October is Cooperative Month, when members from more than 29,000 cooperatives nationwide — including more than 900 electric cooperatives — celebrate their heritage.

Take a few moments this month to learn a little more about the way your electric cooperative does business.
Here is the basic cooperative business philosophy: They are not-for-profit, democratically controlled and member-owned. That means they don’t sell stock to out-of-state shareholders and let outsiders decide what’s best for their local consumer-members.