Utilities, Sourcing Renewables, Wind - February 21, 2018
SWEPCO announces agreement supporting Wind Catcher
Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) announced on Feb. 20 a settlement agreement in the company’s request for approval of the proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project. The agreement includes SWEPCO, Walmart Stores Inc. and Sam’s West, Inc., the Arkansas Public Service Commission General Staff, and the Arkansas attorney general.
The parties in the deal asked the PSC to approve a $4.5 billion project to acquire a 2,000-megawatt wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle and build a 360-mile dedicated generation tie line to the Tulsa area for connection to the existing energy grid. SWEPCO will own 70% of the project, while the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (SWEPCO’s sister company) will own 30%, according to a statement.
SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power, will provide several guarantees, including a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits, minimum annual production from the project, With this agreement, SWEPCO will increase the amount of renewable energy it produces from 8 to 26 percent.
"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. "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," she said.
"Walmart has a goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, and sourcing from wind energy projects — like the Wind Catcher project — is a core component in the mix," said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart. "The energy procured from this project represents an important leap forward on our renewable energy journey.”
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.
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