AEP Receives Approvals to Acquire Wind Projects Worth 1485 MW

AEP has received more than the required approvals to enable the company to acquire the entire planned 1485 MW of wind projects in Oklahoma.

AEP Approvals 1485 MW Wind

American Electric Power (AEP) has announced that it has received more than the required approvals to enable the company to acquire the entire planned 1485 megawatts (MW) of wind generation projects in Oklahoma. The firm will invest approximately USD 2 billion in this new renewable energy to serve its Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) customers.

In July 2019, we had first reported that AEP through PSO and SWEPCO was seeking regulatory approvals to purchase three wind projects, totaling 1,485 megawatts (MW), that are currently under development in Oklahoma. The projects include a 999-MW wind facility being built north of Weatherford, a 287-MW wind facility being built southwest of Enid, and a 199-MW facility being built south of Alva. They are being developed by Invenergy.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission recently approved a settlement agreement that authorizes SWEPCO to add 810 MW of wind energy to serve its customers. The Commission approved an option that could increase Louisiana’s allocation to an estimated 464 MW from the original 268 MW, if Texas does not also approve the SWEPCO proposal. The Arkansas Public Service Commission also accepted an option to increase its allocation when it approved the project earlier this month. The project remains under regulatory review in Texas, and SWEPCO will continue to seek that approval to allocate some of this renewable energy to benefit its customers in Texas.

“This 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,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“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. 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.”

North Central includes three wind generation facilities located in north-central Oklahoma. AEP’s SWEPCO and PSO operating units announced July 15, 2019, that they would seek regulatory approvals to purchase the three wind projects. One project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. The other two projects will be completed by the end of 2021.

PSO received final Oklahoma Corporation Commission approval on February 20, 2020, of a settlement agreement to acquire 675 MW of the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also has approved the acquisition.

Earlier this month, we had reported that the United States (US) Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had granted approval for the proposal to construct and operate the largest solar project in US history. US Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for Solar Partners XI, LLC to construct a 690-MW photovoltaic solar electric generating facility and ancillary facilities about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The estimated USD 1 billion Gemini Solar Project (Project) could be the eighth-largest solar power facility in the world when finished and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California.

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