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SWEPCO signs settlement agreement for approval of 2GW Wind Catcher project in Louisiana

CTBR Staff Writer Published 17 April 2018

American Electric Power’s (AEP) subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) has reached a settlement agreement for the approval of the proposed 2GW Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.

The agreement has been signed in response to the review conducted by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) for the approval of the project. 

SWEPCO, the LPSC general staff, Walmart stores and Sam’s West have signed the settlement agreement. The parties will file joint motion and will ask the Commission to approve the project under the terms of the agreement.

The $4.5bn Wind Catcher project includes the acquisition of a 2GW wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle and the construction of a 360mile dedicated generation tie line to the Tulsa area.

Once completed, the project will increase SWEPCO’s renewable energy share in its energy mix from 8% to 26%.

In the settlement agreement, SWEPCO has agreed to provide several guarantees including cap on construction costs, qualification for 100% of federal production tax credits, minimum annual production from the project among others.

On 20 February, the company had filed an agreement in the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) review of the project. 

While SWEPCO has to receive approvals for the project in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, its sister company Public Service Company of Oklahoma's (PSO) has to secure an approval in Oklahoma.

SWEPCO external affairs vice president Brian Bond said: “We are extremely pleased with this settlement agreement as the Wind Catcher project is an exceptional opportunity to reduce customers' electric bills, bring more clean and affordable energy to homes and businesses, and further diversify the generation resources serving our Louisiana customers.”

In this project, SWEPCO will own 70% of the project and the remaining 30% will be owned by PSO.

Walmart energy vice president Mark Vanderhelm said: "Walmart has a goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy, and sourcing from wind energy projects — like the Wind Catcher project — is a core component in the mix.

"The energy procured by SWEPCO from this project represents an important leap forward on our renewable energy journey."


Image: SWEPCO signs another settlement agreement in Louisiana for Wind Catcher project. Photo: Courtesy of guido muermann/FreeImages.com.