May 28, 2020 Read More →

AEP CEO: Ratepayers will save $3 billion from utility’s investment in new Oklahoma wind projects

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP) said May 27 it will proceed with a $2 billion investment in 1,485 MW of wind energy resources to be built in Oklahoma following state approval.

Also on May 27, the Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved a proposal from AEP subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. to acquire 810 MW from the wind resources, known as the North Central Energy Facilities. The utility, known as SWEPCO, in March reached a settlement with the Louisiana PSC over its plan to acquire a portion of the wind resources.

AEP announced in July 2019 a plan for SWEPCO and its sister utility Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, or PSO, to purchase the three wind farms: the 999-MW Traverse Wind Energy Center, the 288-MW Maverick Wind Project and the 199-MW Sundance Wind Project – Invenergy. Invenergy LLC will build the facilities, and then sell them to AEP once they are complete. One of the facilities should be completed this year, and the other two in 2021.

“Today’s decision by the Louisiana Public Service Commission enables us to move forward with the North Central wind projects at full scale and invest in low-cost wind energy to benefit our customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma,” AEP Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas Akins said in a news release.

“As AEP continues to add new clean energy to our generation portfolio, this investment is expected to save our customers approximately $3 billion over the next 30 years while supporting economic development in our communities,” Akins said. “We will continue to seek approval to provide a share of this renewable energy to our SWEPCO customers in Texas, as we believe the projects offer significant benefits to customers across our SWEPCO footprint.”

Under the terms of the settlement agreement approved in Louisiana, the PSC approved an option that could increase the state’s allocation to an estimated 464 MW from an original 268 MW if Texas regulators do not approve SWEPCO’s proposal there. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has also signed off on an option to increase its allocation, SWEPCO noted in its own news release. Also as part of the Louisiana settlement agreement, SWEPCO said it plans to procure up to 200 MW of solar resources in the company’s service territory, with construction beginning in the next three years.

[Zack Hale]

More ($): AEP commits to $2B wind investment following settlement approval

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