Stillwater Energy Center

Stillwater Energy Center

Project Manager 

Electric Utility / Loren Smith

What We're Doing

Following a resource feasibility evaluation in 2012, Stillwater Utilities Authority (SUA) authorized staff to begin construction of a 56 megawatt high-efficiency, quick-start natural gas-fired power plant at 2000 E. Airport Road. When completed (September 2016), it will replace the current 1950s Boomer Lake Power Generation Station.

Project Benefits

In August 2013, the SUA Trustees approved a power purchase and sale agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) that has an approximate 29-year term. The new generation resources will be owned and operated by the City, and GRDA will pay a capacity payment to SUA. In addition to providing a new revenue source for the SUA, the Stillwater Energy Center (SEC) will provide a reliable infrastructure, electrical grid stability and reliability, grid independence (should there be issues related to the bulk power grid) and competitive electric rates that help promote Stillwater's economic growth. 

By building the new facility, the City is taking proactive steps to provide clean energy to its customers and will be supporting the national effort to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and fuel oil for energy production. The SEC will be ranked as one of the most efficient simple-cycle power plants in Oklahoma.

How We're Paying For It

The estimated project cost is just under $70 million. The project is funded by revenue bond proceeds in the amount of $68.4 million and contributions from the electric rate stabilization fund in the amount of $6.4 million. The bond indenture requires the funding of a debt service reserve fund equal to the maximum annual debt payment on the revenue bonds. The debt service reserve fund is also funded by the revenue bond proceeds.

Latest Project UpdateProject timeline

Sept. 27, 2016: Grand opening ceremony of the Stillwater Energy Center

Project Timeline

Jan. 14, 2016: Construction of the SEC began on July 13, 2015, with site development and grading. Once completed, the foundations and underground utilities work began. This included all of the underground duct banks, conduits, building foundations and gas and water piping for the power block and administration building, as well as the new electrical substation. As this work began to come to an end in mid-November 2015, the building contractor began to erect the power block and administration buildings. This work continues today as the siding is being placed on the power block building to enclose it so that the mechanical contractor can begin assembling the engine auxiliary components. While weather has caused some delays, the contractors are working together to regulate their schedules to meet target dates of completion. 

While many of the parts and pieces are arriving daily, the largest pieces, which include the engines and generators, will be delivered late January to early February. These items will be transported by rail approximately half a mile from the site and then transported by truck to the assembly area. 

Feb. 2, 2016: Progress continues on the construction of the power block building, administration building and substation. Contractors are working to assemble the engine auxiliary modules, radiators and exhaust support systems in the power block building. The first generator (weighing approximately 77 tons) was offloaded and brought to the site on Feb. 1. The remaining generators and engines will be offloaded and transported to the site during the week of Feb. 1. The engines weigh approximately 210 tons. These engines are some of the largest natural gas-fired reciprocating engines produced in the world and are the first to be installed in the central United States. Due to their size and weight, the engines were shipped to the site in three pieces. Once the engines are on site they will be reassembled in a large, temporary tent then rolled into the engine hall for final placement. The first engine is scheduled to be rolled into the hall on Feb. 15. Once all three engines are in place the generators will be rolled in and connected to the engines.

The administration building is starting to take shape with the exterior panels being placed. Internally, the concrete walls for the weather-hardened area are being constructed. The hardened area will consist of an electronics room, electric room and conference room. The electronics and electric room will house the critical electronics that support the facility as well as the disaster recovery server for the City network, while the conference room will act as a storm shelter and a hardened control area should the facility take a direct hit from severe weather.

The 69kV to 12.47kV substation switch house was installed during the week of Jan. 24 and included special arc safe switchgear to protect employees from arc flash. The substation transformers are installed and the super structure is being erected and mated up with the switches and components necessary for operation. 

March 8, 2016: The three engines were assembled on site and were placed in the engine hall and joined up with their generators. Work continues in the engine hall to connect all of the auxiliary piping to engines. Outside, the radiators were assembled and the structural steel for the 80-foot exhaust stacks is being erected. The administrative building is beginning to take shape as the exterior is being finished. The interior walls are going up and being prepared for sheetrock. The substation is also progressing.

April 8, 2016: See below for a construction video update.

Actions authorized by Stillwater Utilities Authority:

Images, Videos and other Background Information:

(Posted March 23, 2015)

Staff update on Stillwater Energy Center to Stillwater Utilities Authority trustees.


Stillwater Utilities Authority presentation of the Power Generation Station Project from the City of Stillwater

(Posted March 23, 2015)

Artist rendering of the proposed Stillwater Energy Center.

(Posted July 13, 2015)

Media/Video News Release: City breaks ground on new Stillwater Energy Center

(STILLWATEROKLA. / July 13, 2015) – Despite a rainy start to the day, the City of Stillwater Electric Utility (SEU) still celebrated the groundbreaking of the Stillwater Energy Center Thursday as scheduled.

Construction of the Stillwater Energy Center starts Monday, July 13 at 2000 E. Airport Road. The electric plant will have an electrical output of 56,277 kW for the Stillwater community. The estimated project cost is just under $70 million and will open for commercial operation June 30, 2016.

“What we’re building here is really a modern marvel for the state of Oklahoma and the region,” said Loren Smith, SEU generation and transmission division manager. “We’re putting in three of the largest natural gas-fired reciprocating engines in the world. Each engine puts out about 25,000 horsepower a piece.”

The plant’s construction also anticipates future innovations in energy use.

“We designed the plant to play well into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) integrated marketplace with machines that could back up wind and solar energy,” Smith said. “This plant is designed to what they call ‘chase the wind,’ which is chasing all the renewables that are coming on line. It will be the most efficient simple-cycle plant in the state.”

(Posted Nov. 19, 2015)

The first set of beams are installed at the Stillwater Energy Center at 2000 E. Airport Road.

The First set of Beams Installed

(Posted Feb. 3, 2016)

One of three new engines makes its way down N. Jardot Road via transporter to the Stillwater Energy Center site.

One of three new engines

(Posted Feb. 9, 2016)

Generators are unloaded from railcar on N. Jardot Road and placed on a transporter to take them to their new home at the Stillwater Energy Center. (Feb. 1, 2016)

Generators being unloaded and placed on a transporter

(Posted April 8, 2016)  

Watch the construction video update on the Stillwater Energy Center.

(Posted Sept. 29, 2016)

Watch the Stillwater Energy Center grand opening ceremony from Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016.