AEP subsidiaries seeking to buy 1.5 GW of Oklahoma wind power
Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019
Two American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiaries are seeking state regulatory approvals to purchase nearly 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of wind power under development in Oklahoma at a cost of $2 billion.
The subsidiaries – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) – put out a proposal request for the wind power and are working with Invenergy as the developer.
The project needs approvals from the states the utilities serve, which include Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The plan also needs Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval.
The three projects include a 999-megawatt (MW) wind facility being built near Weatherford; a 278-MW wind farm near Enid; and a 199-MW installation south of Alva.
The Weatherford facility is slated for completion by the end of 2020, with the remaining projects to be completed by the end of 2021.
The application for approval calls for SWEPCO to own 810 MW of the generating capacity, about 55 percent of the total. PSO would own 675 MW and 45 percent of the total capacity.
The three projects would generate more than 5.7 million megawatt-hours of new wind energy annually and save customers approximately $3 billion, net cost, over 30 years, AEP said.
“Purchasing these wind facilities is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing significant economic benefits to local communities,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP CEO, said.
In 2018, coal accounted for 43 percent of SWEPCO’s capacity, and natural gas provided another 40 percent, according to the company’s integrated resource management plan. Wind made of 8 percent of generation assets.
Coal-fired generation makes up just 9.4 percent of PSO’s generation. The utility depends heavily on natural gas and power purchase agreements. Natural gas accounts for 72 percent of the electricity and wind a little more than 18 percent.
AEP has also recently added 724 MW of wind and battery generation to its contracted competitive portfolio and is proposing more than 9,100 MW of new wind and solar generation additions and nearly 2,300 MW of new natural gas generation to its regulated power plant fleet by 2030 to diversify its power production portfolio, the company said.