SWEPCO announces plans to boost production of wind, solar energy

Published on July 17, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) submitted plans to utility regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas to add 810 megawatts (MW) of wind energy by 2022.

This proposal is part of the company’s plan to significantly increase its use of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.

“Our long-range plan moves SWEPCO toward a cleaner energy future with more low-cost, renewable energy as part of our diverse energy mix,” Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer, said. “Along with the environmental benefits, this additional wind energy will save customers money for years to come, helping families, businesses, and the local economy.”

SWEPCO’s strategy is to have more than one-third of its energy generated from wind and solar. Consequently, coal-fueled generation would drop to 44 percent from 83 percent of the company’s energy mix. Wind energy would increase to 26 percent from 9 percent, while solar would grow to 10 percent. Also, natural gas would increase to 19 percent from 7 percent.

“Our customers want cleaner energy,” Smoak said. “Many have renewable energy and sustainability goals of their own, and this addition of wind energy to SWEPCO’s resource mix will help them meet those goals.”

SWEPCO currently has 469 MW of wind energy through power purchase agreements. The plan is to acquire three Oklahoma wind generation facilities in conjunction with its sister company, Public Service of Oklahoma (PSO). One of the projects is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, while the other two will be done by the end of 2021. SWEPCO officials say customers will save an estimated $2 billion over the 30-year expected life of the wind facilities.

SWEPCO, which is owned by American Electric Power, serves 536,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle.