New solar power facility to be built in Caddo Parish

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 12:51 PM CDT
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The following information is from La. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell’s office:

BATON ROUGE, La. – Clean, renewable energy able to power 12,000 homes is coming to north Caddo Parish in the form of a solar power plant near Hosston, according to Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell.

The 72-megawatt “Rocking R” solar facility near the Louisiana 2 exit off Interstate 49 will be built by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and the power sold to SWEPCO in a long-term agreement, according to a plan approved unanimously today by the Louisiana PSC.

“SWEPCO has been a leader among Louisiana electric companies in using renewable wind power from Oklahoma, Texas and other states,” Campbell said.

“This North Caddo project brings more clean and economical energy to SWEPCO customers along with jobs in construction and investment in Louisiana.”

“It is also a power-purchase agreement, meaning SWEPCO will make no profit on the sale of the solar power to its customers.”

SWEPCO officials said once Arkansas and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission join Louisiana in approval of the Rocking R project, DESRI can start the permitting process to begin construction.

Campbell said he supports SWEPCO’s conversion to renewable power to generate electricity for the company’s 234,000 Louisiana customers.

“We have been reliably served through the years with coal and natural gas, but it is time to get more of our electricity from clean and plentiful energy sources that are competitive in cost and better for the environment,” he said.

SWEPCO President and Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Smoak said the utility plans to add more solar and wind power in the near future.

“Adding more clean energy to our generation mix is a significant benefit to our customers,” Smoak said. “The production price of wind and solar power is unaffected by the type of fluctuations in fuel costs that we have seen lately with natural gas.”

Smoak said SWEPCO commercial customers can use the Rocking R solar output to meet renewable-power and sustainability goals, “and that makes northwest Louisiana more desirable for economic expansion.”

Smoak said large customers will be able to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates from the Rocking R plant, with revenue from the REC sales helping to lower electric bills for other SWEPCO customers.

SWEPCO’s renewable-energy portfolio includes 809 megawatts of wind energy from its new North Central Energy Facilities in Oklahoma and another 469 megawatts of wind energy under power-purchase agreements.

In May of 2022 SWEPCO filed for regulatory approvals in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas for 999 megawatts of wind and solar energy. The company identified three locations for the projects through competitive bidding, including a 200-megawatt solar facility in Caddo Parish. The other two projects include a 200-megawatt wind facility in Texas and a 598-megawatt wind facility in Oklahoma.