Library from Oklahoma
Company remains focused on 5-7 percent earnings growth through investments to improve service for customers COLUMBUS, Ohio – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is canceling the Wind Catcher project as a result of the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ July 26 decision to deny approval of the project. The project had been approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Louisiana Public Service Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A decision was pending at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Texas dealt a potential death blow to what would be the largest-ever U.S. wind farm: American Electric Power Co.’s $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project. ...“The costs are known,” DeAnn Walker, chairman of the Texas commission, said Thursday at a hearing. “But the benefits are based on a lot of assumptions that are questionable.”
AEP's plan to build the largest wind farm in the United States might have been dealt a fatal blow. The Public Utility Commission of Texas voted Thursday to reject the proposed 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher wind farm, stating that as it is structured now, the project doesn't offer clear enough benefits for rate payers.
AEP's original schedule called for the need to order the longest-lead-time equipment by Aug. 6. Through some negotiations, it has been able to delay those orders until the end of August, but the company can't afford to delay much longer, AEP CFO Brian Tierney told investors. It needs to make its timetables in order for developer Invenergy LLC to complete the wind farm by 2020.
The 2,000 MW Wind Catcher Energy Connection project proposed by SWEPCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, came under scrutiny from the PUCT earlier this week as the regulators questioned the prudence of putting such a large investment on ratepayers, particularly with the inclusion of a $1.6 billion transmission line to move the energy from the wind farm.
Regulators threw a wrench in American Electric Power’s massive Wind Catcher Energy Connection on Thursday, expressing concerns over whether the company will protect ratepayers from the project’s risks. ...“I’m going to be upfront with you,” [Public Utility Commission Chair DeAnn] Walker said ...“At this point, I can’t approve the [project].” Walker said she would need additional consumer protections from SWEPCO, which would own 70% of the $4.5 billion project.
Many questions and responses centered on whether the project would benefit the utility's typical residential customer, especially during the last 15 years of the project's expected 25 year life. A big key to that, witnesses agreed, is where natural gas prices would be during that time.
A commission administrative law judge who considered PSO's proposal has recommended the commission deny the utility's request. The judge recommended denial because the utility did not seek competitive construction bids for the farm and because that work had started before PSO filed its request.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is holding a hearing Monday concerning PSO's Wind Catcher project. The Corporation Commission says the meeting concerns proposed settlements and motions for PSO's Wind Catcher project.
The Bixby City Council withdrew its opposition to the Wind Catcher Energy Connection power line project Monday evening after Public Service Co. of Oklahoma presented an alternate plan to not only use existing right-of-way through the southern part of the town but to rebuild that route with smaller towers.
Renewable energy developer, Innergex, will not be building wind farms near Sheppard Air Force Base ...[wind energy development] continues to be an ongoing issue in Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, Sheppard Air Force Base has already lost three low-level training routes in Oklahoma due to wind turbines.
After information campaigns from the base and Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) about how the developments would negatively impact Sheppard’s training routes, the company removing themselves from the permitting process – meaning their interest in the area is essentially over.
“I am all for adding clean, renewable power generation to our power grid, but the project has to serve a need, and it has to make sense financially,” Greene said. “I could not vote to have SWEPCO customers finance an unneeded generation project that might only save them money if the price of natural gas increases significantly."
I’m not opposed to wind energy, but I can tell you I am opposed to this line,” said Bixby Mayor John Easton. “I really am opposed to how PSO has represented itself to the city of Bixby. “No one on this council had any idea about this line, at all, until the meeting in May in Glenpool, on the night of a City Council meeting when none of us could attend. This is why we are going to the Corporation Commission to ask them to, please, represent us.”
Hinton Mayor Shelly Newton is still upset about the planned wind farm construction near her town.
A decision on the project’s cost-recovery plan is pending before the Corporation Commission, which last held a hearing on the subject March 14. ...Bixby Mayor John Easton told the PSO representatives that the southern route plan would cripple city expansion to the south. “You’re pulling the rug out from underneath the future of this city,” he said.