American Electric Power to invest $4.5bn to buy 2GW wind farm

  • American Electric Power to invest $4.5bn to buy 2GW wind farm

American Electric Power to invest $4.5bn to buy 2GW wind farm

North American renewable energy company, Invenergy, and General Electrics Renewable Energy, have begun construction on what will be the USA's largest onshore wind farm, of 2 Gigawatts.

AEP is asking state regulators for approval to build the power line and to purchase the electricity and distribute it through subsidiaries Public Service Co. and Southwestern Electric Power customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. SWEPCO and PSO will purchase the facility at completion, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020. The report says that represented 29 projects with a combined generation capacity of 3,841 MW, including two offshore wind projects totaling 368 MW that received Maryland offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs). With the addition of Wind Catcher energy, PSO customers will receive almost 40% of their energy from wind. The project is expected to provide reduced energy cost savings to PSO customers of more than $2 billion over the life of the project. This brings the country's cumulative wind energy capacity up to 84,405 MW, made up of 52,000 commercial wind turbines now operating in 41 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico. Shreve added that the project serves as a big boost for Invenergy, which will continue to provide O&M services to Wind Catcher after it's built. "We commend SWEPCO for taking advantage of abundantly available cheap wind, which will benefit its customers in both lower electric bills and cleaner air". When complete, Wind Catcher is expected to be the second-largest wind farm in the world.

"Wind Catcher shows American leadership in bringing low-priced clean energy to market at a giga scale", said Michael Polsky, Invenergy's founder and CEO.

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". AEP CEO Nicholas Akins said on an earnings call today that the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher purchase, which relies on $2.7 billion in USA wind production tax credits, will not require a rate increase.

"We keep wondering why utilities are always signing PPAs that pass the cost through to customers", said Amy Grace, analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The incentive offered a 0.5 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit that can be carried forward up to 10 years. "This is the largest single-site wind project in the United States", McCellon-Allen said. That same year, the Oklahoma Wind Catcher facility is scheduled to boot up, pipping the Alta Wind Energy Center in California, the current largest in the USA with a capacity of 1,550 MW.