American Electric Power has announced a $4.5bn investment to buy a 2GW wind farm, which is currently under construction by Invenergy in the western panhandle of Oklahoma.
The clean energy project known as Wind Catcher Energy Connection is expected to supply about 9 million megawatt-hours of wind power annually to AEP’s customers in four US states.
To purchase the wind farm, AEP’s utility subsidiaries Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) are seeking permission from the utility regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
SWEPCO and PSO are also seeking approval to build an approximately 350-mile extra-high voltage power line to deliver the renewable energy to customers.
The project is expected to result in over $7bn savings for SWEPCO and PSO customers over a period of 25 years.
AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer Nicholas Akins said: “This project is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities.”
The construction phase of the project is expected to create approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually.
While SWEPCO will own 70% stake in the project, including 1,400MW of wind power, PSO will hold 30% stake.
The Wind Catcher facility will feature 800 GE 2.5 megawatt turbines.
For the contract, GE will manufacture all machine heads and hubs in the US, and additional components in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
Construction of the Wind Catcher facility began last year and it is expected to be fully operational in mid-2020.
The project is subject to regulatory approvals in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Besides, the AEP’s utility companies have applied for approvals for another 1,350MW of wind and solar generation.
Image: The Wind Catcher facility will feature 800 GE 2.5 megawatt turbines. Photo courtesy of GE Renewable Energy.