The Public Service Company of Oklahoma has announced the route for the approximately 360-mile-long power line for the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection. The dedicated, extra-high voltage line, will connect a substation at the wind farm with a substation near Tulsa to deliver power across the region.
After much public input and consideration of multiple alignments the choice was made for a more northerly route. Additionally, the company identified three areas where additional public input is needed before portions of the route are finalized.
Wind Catcher is expected to provide new tax revenue for the state, schools and local governments. Wind Catcher, a joint effort between PSO and Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), will harness wind energy from the western panhandle of Oklahoma and deliver it to customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, as well as parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The Wind Catcher facility, developed by Invenergy, will be the largest wind farm in America and the second-largest in the world, once operational. The 2,000-MW facility will generate power from 800 state-of-the-art GE 2.5 megawatt turbines. Construction of the wind farm and transmission line will create 4,000 direct jobs for workers and support the creation of additional 4,400 jobs, as well as supporting 80 permanent, full-time operations jobs. Construction began in 2016, and operations are expected to begin in mid-2020.
As part of the power line routing process, PSO held 11 open houses across northern Oklahoma in the fall. More than 900 people attended the events. In addition, the company collected comments through the Wind Catcher website, direct mail, email and phone calls. Community feedback was essential in developing the proposed route.
“At PSO we are committed to working with landowners and the community to bring the benefits of Wind Catcher to customers,” said John Harper, PSO vice president, external affairs. “In addition to bringing customers some of the lowest-cost power available, the communities along the line route will see approximately $300 million in additional property taxes over the next 25 years.”
The company will begin working with landowners along the portions of the line route needing additional study this month. There are three segments along the proposed route where the company will collect additional landowner and community comment before making refinements to those areas. Three community open houses are scheduled for January.
Development of the line route began in the summer of 2017. For more information, including a map of the proposed line route, please visit the project website at: