Where Does Oklahoma Get Most Of Its Electricity?

Oklahoma has a diverse electricity production portfolio, relying on a mix of coal, natural gas, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. In 2020, Oklahoma ranked 10th in the nation for total electricity net generation. The state consumed about 78 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2020 while generating over 101 million MWh. This allowed Oklahoma to export nearly a quarter of its electricity generation to neighboring states. Oklahoma’s electricity consumption is projected to continue increasing in the coming years, driving a need for additional electricity production capacity within the state.


Coal was once the dominant source of electricity generation in Oklahoma, fueling 63% of in-state generation in 2001, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=OK). However, coal’s share of electricity generation in Oklahoma has declined dramatically over the past two decades. In 2022, coal accounted for just 10.4% of Oklahoma’s net electricity generation, according to the List of Power Stations in Oklahoma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Oklahoma).

This steep decline in coal-fired electricity generation is due to several factors, including inexpensive natural gas, growth in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and environmental regulations. While coal once dominated, it now plays a relatively small role in Oklahoma’s electricity generation mix.

Natural Gas

Natural gas plays a major role in Oklahoma’s electricity generation. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas accounted for 36% of Oklahoma’s net electricity generation in 2022, making it the state’s second largest source of electricity after wind power.

The share of electricity generated from natural gas in Oklahoma has fluctuated over the past decade but has remained consistently high. In 2012, natural gas accounted for approximately 48% of the state’s net electricity generation. The share fell to 34% in 2016 as wind power expanded rapidly, before climbing back up to 43% in 2019. In recent years, growth in wind and solar has led to some decline in natural gas’ share, but it remains an integral part of Oklahoma’s electricity mix.

Oklahoma has significant natural gas reserves, and many new efficient natural gas power plants have been built in the state to take advantage of this abundant resource. Major natural gas power plants in Oklahoma include the 1,230 MW McClain plant and the 1,109 MW Muskogee plant, among others. As long as natural gas prices remain competitive, this fossil fuel is likely to supply a substantial portion of the state’s electricity needs into the future.


Wind power has seen tremendous growth in Oklahoma over the past two decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind turbines accounted for 38% of all of Oklahoma’s electric-generating capacity in 2022, compared to just 12% nationwide.1 Oklahoma has vast wind resources and potential, with the ability to install over 500,000 MW of wind turbines capable of generating 1,521,652 GWh annually – over one third of the state’s total electricity needs.2

Major wind farms in Oklahoma include the Blue Canyon Wind Farm, Los Vientos Wind Farm, and Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. The growth of wind power in the state has been significant, with over 7,000 wind turbines installed as of 2021 producing over 12,000 MW of capacity.3 Wind energy is now an essential part of Oklahoma’s electricity generation portfolio and a major driver of future renewable energy growth.


Oklahoma has one operating nuclear power plant – the Southwestern Electric Power Company’s Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant located near Glen Rose, Texas. This plant has two nuclear reactors and generates about 1,150 net megawatts, which accounts for around 5% of Oklahoma’s electricity generation.

The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi, owned by Entergy, also provides around 200 megawatts of power purchased by Oklahoma under a power purchase agreement. Overall, nuclear power accounts for about 7-8% of Oklahoma’s net electricity generation.

While nuclear provides a steady baseload source of carbon-free electricity, no new nuclear reactors have come online in Oklahoma recently. The existing reactors at Comanche Peak were commissioned in the 1990s, and there are no firm plans for additional nuclear expansion currently.


Hydropower from dams plays an important but declining role in Oklahoma’s electricity generation. As of 2019, hydropower accounted for 7% of the state’s net electricity generation, providing 1,617 gigawatt-hours of power.[1] The state is home to several large dams that produce hydropower, including the Denison Dam on the Red River, Eufaula Dam on the Canadian River, and the Grand River Dam on the Grand River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates seven hydropower plants at dams across eastern Oklahoma that have a combined capacity of 185 megawatts.[2] Some of the largest hydropower facilities in the state are the Robert S. Kerr Dam on the Arkansas River (132 megawatts), the Fort Gibson Dam on the Grand River (122 megawatts), and the Keystone Dam on the Arkansas River (82 megawatts).[3]

While Oklahoma’s existing hydropower capacity plays an important role, growth is limited by geographical constraints. Hydropower generation has been declining in recent decades in Oklahoma as a share of total electricity generation. Other renewable sources like wind are being developed more rapidly. Still, the reliable baseload power provided by dams remains an asset to the state’s diversified electricity portfolio.

[1] https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=OK
[2] https://www.swt.usace.army.mil/Missions/Hydropower/
[3] https://www.hydro.org/map/?state=OK


Solar power continues to experience rapid growth in Oklahoma, although it still accounts for a small portion of the state’s overall electricity generation. Oklahoma has great solar potential, with average solar radiation levels around 5 kWh/m2/day in the west and up to 4.5 kWh/m2/day in eastern parts of the state according to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s 2021 renewable energy report. As of 2021, Oklahoma ranked 32nd nationally in installed solar capacity with 295 MW.

Some of the largest solar installations in the state include the 13.2 MW Chickasaw Nation Solar Farm which powers over 1,600 homes, and the 6.1 MW Choctaw Nation Solar Farm. Led by companies like Solar Power Oklahoma which has installed over 120,000 panels statewide, rooftop installations on homes and businesses are also growing rapidly with over 19,000 potential rooftop sites available.

Looking ahead, projections estimate Oklahoma could reach over 1,300 MW of solar capacity by 2026. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecasts that solar could provide 9% of Oklahoma’s electricity by 2030. To support continued growth, Oklahoma offers some incentives like sales tax exemptions and net metering policies. With ample solar resources and increasing affordability of solar PV systems, the future looks bright for solar to play a bigger role in Oklahoma’s renewable energy mix.


Petroleum has historically played an important role in Oklahoma’s electricity generation. As recently as the early 2000s, petroleum-fired power plants generated over 20% of the state’s electricity [1]. However, petroleum’s contribution has declined significantly over the past two decades.

In 2021, petroleum accounted for just 3% of Oklahoma’s net electricity generation, with most petroleum-fired generation coming from natural gas liquids like propane and butane [2]. Oklahoma has moved away from using petroleum for electricity in favor of cheaper and cleaner natural gas and renewables. Only a few petroleum-fired power plants remain active in the state.

While petroleum was once a major electricity source for Oklahoma, it now plays a small and declining role as the state transitions its power mix towards natural gas and renewables like wind and solar.

Renewables Outlook

Oklahoma is projected to continue expanding its renewable energy production over the next decade. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma generated 47% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2022, primarily from wind and hydroelectric power.1 The American Clean Power Association estimates Oklahoma could reach over 50% renewable electricity generation by 2030, driven by growth in wind and solar energy.2

Wind power accounts for the largest share of renewable generation in Oklahoma. The state currently ranks 3rd in the U.S. for installed wind capacity. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce projects over 7,000 MW of new wind power capacity could come online in the state between 2022-2030.3 This wind expansion, along with growth in solar power, will be key for Oklahoma to meet its renewable energy goals.

Major renewable energy projects on the horizon in Oklahoma include the King Plains wind farm in Kingfisher County and the Skeleton Creek solar facility in Garvin County. As renewable power becomes more cost-competitive with conventional sources, Oklahoma is poised to increase its renewable electricity portfolio and benefit from the job growth and economic development spurred by clean energy investments.


In summary, Oklahoma gets the largest share of its electricity from wind power, accounting for 44% of the state’s electricity generation in 2022 according to Oklahoma Profile Overview. Natural gas is the second largest source, providing 42.7% of Oklahoma’s electricity. Much smaller shares come from coal (10.4%), hydroelectric (2.8%), and other renewables like biomass and solar. Oklahoma has become a national leader in wind power generation, with ample wind resources across the state. Moving forward, continued growth in renewables like wind and solar is expected, as Oklahoma works to further diversify its electricity generation portfolio.

Overall, Oklahoma has a robust mix of natural gas, wind, coal, and hydroelectric providing most of its electricity needs today. With abundant renewable resources, Oklahoma is poised to increase its renewable energy production in the years ahead while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity for its residents and businesses.

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