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SWEPCO reaches settlement for $4.5bn Wind Catcher project approval in Louisiana

EBR Staff Writer Published 17 April 2018

Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) has reached a settlement to gain approval for its $4.5bn Wind Catcher Connection project in Louisiana.

The American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiary has signed a settlement agreement with the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) general staff, Walmart Stores and Sam's West.

The parties have agreed to file a joint motion, seeking LPSC’s approval of the project under the terms of the settlement agreement.

SWEPCO external affairs vice president Brian Bond said: “We are extremely pleased with this settlement agreement as the Wind Catcher project is an exceptional opportunity to reduce customers' electric bills, bring more clean and affordable energy to homes and businesses, and further diversify the generation resources serving our Louisiana customers.”

As part of the Wind Catcher project, SWEPCO will acquire a 2GW wind farm to be developed by Invenergy in the Cimarron and Texas counties, located in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The project will also see a 579km dedicated extra high-voltage 765kV transmission line laid out between two new substations, with one to be constructed at the wind farm and the second one to come up near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As per SWEPCO, the Wind Catcher project is expected to deliver wind energy to its customers across the states of Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas by late 2020.

SWEPCO holds a stake of 70% in the Wind Catcher project and is partnered by its sister company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), which will own 30%.

In late February, SWEPCO signed a settlement agreement with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) general staff, the Arkansas Attorney General and also Sam’s West and Walmart Stores. The parties are seeking approval of the renewable energy project in Arkansas from APSC as per the terms of the settlement agreement.

The Wind Catcher project, which is currently claimed to be the largest single-site wind project in the US, is awaiting approval from the Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma utility commissions.

Image: A 2GW wind farm in Oklahoma will be acquired by SWEPCO under the Wind Catcher project. Photo: courtesy of Falk Schaaf/FreeImages.com.