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Swepco seeks approval for 2GW Wind Catcher Energy Connection project

CTBR Staff Writer Published 23 February 2018

Southwestern Electric Power Co (Swepco) has come to a settlement agreement in its request for proposal (RfP) to gain approval for the 2GW Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.

The unit of American Electric Power (AEP) has made a settlement agreement with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) General Staff, the Arkansas Attorney General, and Walmart Stores and Sam’s West and has sought approval from the APSC for the project.

Swepco president and chief operating officer Venita McCellon-Allen said: “We are extremely pleased with this settlement agreement because it recognizes the tremendous opportunity the Wind Catcher project provides for clean, low-cost energy and long-term savings for SWEPCO customers.

“Our customers are looking to us to provide clean, reliable and cost-effective power. Wind Catcher will help companies, universities, cities and other customers meet their sustainability and renewable energy goals.”

The settlement was arrived after a series of negotiations with the APSC General Staff, the Arkansas Attorney General and other parties. Swepco agreed on several guarantees including a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100% of federal Production Tax Credits and minimum annual production from the project among others.

According to the company, the project will help save its customers more than $4bn in net cost over the 25 year life time of the project.

These cost savings will include no fuel cost for wind, lowering its overall fuel and purchased power, full value of federal Production Tax Credit being available for construction of new wind farm projects and the cost-efficient delivery of wind generation to customers through a dedicated power line.

Swepco expects that its customers will see savings through the reduction in fuel portion of their bills, starting from 2021.

The $4.5bn Wind Catcher Energy Connection project includes the acquisition of 2GW wind farm under construction in Oklahoma Panhandle and the construction of a 360-mile generation tie line to the Tulsa area, where power from the wind farm will be delivered to customers through the existing electrical grid.

Swepco will own about 70% of the project and its sister company Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) will own the remaining 30%.

Once completed, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project will increase the company’s renewable energy mix from the present 8% to 26%.

GE Renewable Energy will supply 800 of its 2.5MW turbines for the project. It expects that a large chunk of turbine blades, towers and generator frames will be manufactured in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Image: Swepco expects that the Wind Catcher project can help its customers save $4bn over its 25 year life time. Photo: Courtesy of guido muermann/FreeImages.com.