SWEPCO seeks approval for more solar, wind power generating facilities

Projects are needed to help replace generating capacity lost by retiring aging units, utility says
This year, Invenergy is celebrating the development of more than 30 gigawatts of clean energy...
This year, Invenergy is celebrating the development of more than 30 gigawatts of clean energy generation projects over its 20-year existence.(PRNewswire)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is seeking approval for another solar energy facility in Northwest Louisiana and two more wind farms, one each in Texas and Oklahoma.

The goal of the filings submitted May 27 to utility regulators in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas is to add 999 megawatts (MW) of wind- and solar-generated energy by the end of 2025.

That is needed to help replace capacity being lost as SWEPCO retires aging electricity-generating units.

The projects to be constructed by Invenergy and acquired by SWEPCO were identified through a competitive bidding process.

They are:

• Mooringsport, a 200 MW solar facility in Caddo Parish, La.,

• Diversion, a 200.6 MW wind facility in Baylor County, Texas, and,

• Wagon Wheel, a 598.4 MW wind facility in Garfield, Kingfisher, Logan, Noble and Payne counties in Oklahoma.

“SWEPCO’s analysis of our generation needs showed that the lowest-cost, best-value option for capacity was adding wind and solar resources,” Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO’s president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. “These projects will help save money for our customers.”

⚡ WEB EXTRA: SWEPCO President and COO Malcolm Smoak answers questions about the utility’s quest for more renewable energy facilities ►

(Video source: AEP/SWEPCO)

SWEPCO retired five gas units in 2019 and 2020 and Dolet Hills in 2021. It also has announced plans to retire the Pirkey Power Plant in Hallsville, Texas, in 2023.

“With these retirements, SWEPCO faces a capacity deficit beginning in 2023 that grows to 1,574 MW in 2028 after the retirement of other generating units,” the news release states. That means if the three proposed facilities are approved, SWEPCO still would have a capacity deficit of about 575 MW.

So the utility intends to explore more opportunities to add renewable generation and capacity in the coming years.

“We have worked to balance the remaining life and economic viability of each of our generating units with other options for generating power, including natural gas as well as renewables, in a resource mix that provides the best value and generates benefits for the environment,” Smoak said.

SWEPCO’s long-term strategy calls for more than one-third of its SPP-accredited capacity to be satisfied with wind and solar resources.

In early February, SWEPCO announced plans to add 72.5 MW of solar energy through a purchased power agreement with the proposed Rocking R Solar project in Northwest Louisiana.

And in March, the 998-MW Traverse Wind Energy Center began operations. Traverse is the final and largest wind project of the North Central Energy Facilities in Oklahoma that generates 1,484 MW of clean energy.

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