Southwestern Electric Power, a unit of American Electric Power, has reached an agreement in the company’s request for approval of the proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.
Rattlesnake Wind farm (Invenergy)
The settlement agreement includes SWEPCO, the Arkansas Public Service Commission General Staff, the Arkansas Attorney General, Walmart Stores, Inc. and Sam’s West, Inc.
The $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project includes acquisition of a 2,000-MW wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle and construction of a 360-mile dedicated extra high-voltage 765 kilovolt (kV) power line to connect two new substations, one located at the wind facility and a second near Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the existing electrical grid will deliver the wind energy to customers.
SWEPCO will own 70 percent of the project. SWEPCO’s sister company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma will own 30 percent. The SWEPCO Arkansas jurisdiction share of the project investment is $607 million.
SWEPCO has agreed to provide a cap on construction costs and qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits.
“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,” said Venita McCellon-Allen, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer.
SWEPCO anticipates that the project will save its customers more than $4 billion over the 25-year life of the wind farm.
The company expects customers to see savings primarily through a reduction in the fuel portion of their bills, beginning in 2021.
GE Renewable Energy, which will provide 800 of its 2.5-megawatt wind turbines for the Wind Catcher facility, anticipates that a significant number of turbine blades, towers and generator frames will be manufactured in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. GE will also implement its Digital Wind Farm solutions, providing software to support wind operations including Asset Performance Management (APM) and Operations Optimization (OO
Wind Catcher is the largest single-site wind project in the United States. The wind farm is under development by Invenergy in Cimarron and Texas counties in the Oklahoma Panhandle. SWEPCO and PSO will purchase the facility at completion, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Wind Catcher shows American leadership in bringing low-cost clean energy to market at giga scale,” said Invenergy’s Founder and CEO Michael Polsky. “This project reflects Invenergy’s innovative spirit and unparalleled execution ability, and we are proud to be working with forward-looking utilities like PSO and SWEPCO whose customers and communities will benefit from this project for decades to come.”