Arkansas Public Service Commission Approves Wind Catcher Project

Published on May 11, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (AEP) company, announced this week that the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) approved the company’s Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.

The APSC decision determined that the project is in the public interest and approved provisions of a settlement agreement that the APSC General Staff, the Arkansas Attorney General, SWEPCO, Walmart Stores, Inc. and Sam’s West, Inc. submitted in a joint motion on Feb. 20.

The $4.5 billion project will provide wind energy to AEP customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. It includes the acquisition of a 2,000-megawatt (MW) wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle and construction of an approximately 350-mile dedicated power line.

Invenergy is developing the wind farm, which is located in Cimarron and Texas counties in the Oklahoma Panhandle. SWEPCO and PSO will purchase the facility when it is completed. SWEPCO will own 70 percent of the project, and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), SWEPCO’s sister company, will own 30 percent.

“Wind Catcher is part of our strategy to invest in the energy resources of the future. The Arkansas Commission’s decision recognizes the long-term savings and clean energy that Wind Catcher will deliver to our customers,” Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO, said. “The Commission thoroughly evaluated our application, including the substantial performance guarantees that were developed during the review process, and they agree that Wind Catcher will provide significant savings and long-term benefits for customers.”

The settlement agreement includes a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits, minimum annual production from the project and other guarantees.

Construction on the wind farm is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.