LA Public Service Commission approves SWEPCO's wind catcher project

LA Public Service Commission approves SWEPCO's wind catcher project

ARKLATEX (KSLA) - On Wednesday, SWEPCO announced that the Louisiana Service Commission has approved its proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project.

The Wind Catcher Energy Connection is a wind farm and dedicated power line that will provide low-cost, clean, reliable energy to SWEPCO Customers in the ArkLaTex.

"Wind Catcher is a major investment in clean energy that will produce long-term savings for Louisiana customers and further diversify our energy resource mix," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president, and chief executive officer, in a news release. "After an extensive review, including the significant performance guarantees that were developed during the process, the Louisiana Public Service Commission's decision recognizes the benefits Wind Catcher will bring to Louisiana customers."

The 4.5 billion dollar project included the purchase of a 2,000-megawatt wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle and construction of an approximately 350-mile dedicated power line that will carry the wind energy to the Tulsa area, where the existing grid will deliver it to customers.

SWEPCO expects that the project will save over $4 billion dollars for customers over the 25-year-life of the wind farm.

Customers will see savings primarily through a reduction in the fuel portion of their bills beginning in 2021.

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.

SWEPCO, which serves more than 231,000 customers in Louisiana, filed its application with the LPSC July 31, 2017.

The Wind Catcher project also remains subject to the approval of SWEPCO's application in Texas and PSO's application in Oklahoma. Six parties have joined with PSO in a settlement agreement pending before the Oklahoma Corporate Commission. The Arkansas Public Service Commission approved the project on May 8, 2018.

Key points of the settlement agreement approved by the LPSC agreed by SWEPCO are a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits, minimum annual production from the project, and other commitments.

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