By KSLA Staff SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Thursday, July 27th 2017, 3:30 pm CDT
Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) has announced plans for a major clean energy project that they say will provide low-cost, renewable energy for their customers.
The proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a 2,000 megawatt wind farm under construction in Cimarron and Texas counties in the Oklahoma Panhandle. If approved, it would be the largest single-site wind project in the nation.
According to SWEPCO, the project will provide 6 million megawatt-hours (mWh) of new wind energy annually to customers and save them more than $5 billion over the 25-year life of the wind farm.
According to a statement released by the electric utility Wednesday, SWEPCO will file applications July 31 with utility regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas to request approval for the project.
As proposed, SWEPCO will own 1,400 megawatts (MW) of the 2,000-MW wind farm and help build an approximately 350-mile, dedicated 765-kilovolt (kV) power line from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Tulsa to deliver the wind energy to customers.
“This is an exciting opportunity to provide a significant amount of clean, renewable energy and long-term cost savings for SWEPCO customers,” Venita McCellon-Allen, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer said in a statement released Wednesday. “We are working to meet the future energy needs of our customers in the cleanest, most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, and at the same time continuing to diversify our energy resource mix.”
"Cost savings include no fuel cost for wind, which lowers SWEPCO’s overall fuel and purchased power costs; full value of the federal Production Tax Credit, which is available for construction of new wind farm projects; and the cost-efficient delivery of the wind generation to customers through the new, dedicated power line."
SWEPCO, which is headquartered in Shreveport, says customers will see savings primarily through a reduction in the fuel portion of their bills, beginning in 2021.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), which is also a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), will own 600 MW of the same wind power plant and co-own the proposed power line, pending regulatory approval.
SWEPCO’s 70 percent share of the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project is $3.2 billion.
The wind farm is under development by Invenergy. SWEPCO and PSO will purchase the facility at completion, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.
“With a large-scale project at this site, we are tapping into one of the best wind resources in the country," McCellon-Allen said in the statement. "The dedicated power line will deliver the renewable energy efficiently, reliably and cost-effectively to our customers, significantly reducing what are known as congestion costs for use of existing power lines.”
The economic impact of the project will include manufacturing of key components of the wind turbines in states served by SWEPCO. 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.
The project will move SWEPCO toward its target of 2,000 MW of renewable energy by 2034, as identified in the company’s Integrated Resource Plan. Once the project is completed, renewable energy will comprise 29 percent of SWEPCO’s energy resource mix, up from the current 9 percent.
SWEPCO customers currently are served by 469 MW of wind power through long-term power purchase agreements with wind farms in the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and south-central Kansas.
The project is subject to regulatory approvals in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
SWEPCO serves 530,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
I'll bet the ground-dwelling endangered species and other wildlife (including plants) are thrilled about being able to give up their "living and breeding lands" - FOREVER - so that mankind can build some of the largest structures on earth, and sequester these lands - FOREVER. These critters will willingly evacuate, so the windmills (when the wind blows) can kill millions of those pesky birds, bats, bees and butterflies that eat the "up_for_grabs_groceries" daily struggled over. They know it's true that the power companies have employees whose jobs are to simply load the dead gravity-defying (and formerly alive) organisms, drive them to the appropriate disposal site & dump. That way, the forever-demanding humanoid MW consumers never have to think about the consequences of their actions.
The new Father of our Nation (Barack Hussein Obama for you dummies), exempted solar panel and wind turbine farms from many regulations (and consequences) resulting from their operations. At the same time, oil and gas & coal companies were promised to be driven into inactivity (even bankruptcy) by our fearless leader. Huge subsidies were handed out to the sharks promoting 'clean energy' & some walked away with 10's of millions, leaving defunct companies behind. Oh - and - I'm sure the general population of the area - that will have to live with the radiation, loss of traditional commerce, dead-bird stench, HUMONGOUS right-of-way, eminent domain, restricted accessibility, etc. > infinitum : is just thrilled.
SWEPCO customers, I am one, enjoy some of the lowest electrical rates in the state. One reason that we do is that SWEPCO has been sourcing some of the electricity that I use here in Shreveport from wind farms for some time now. I welcome the companies decision to invest in the Wind Catcher Project.