Electric utility Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), a company of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, announced Monday (July 15) it will add 810 megawatts of wind energy by 2022 as part of the company’s long-term plan to increase the use of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
SWEPCO submitted filings Monday to seek approval from utility regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas regarding the proposal, which is also subject to review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. SWEPCO looks to acquire three wind generation facilities in Oklahoma with its sister company, Public Service of Oklahoma. One of the projects is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, and the other projects should be completed by the end of 2021.
“Our long-range plan moves SWEPCO toward a cleaner energy future with more low-cost, renewable energy as part of our diverse energy mix,” said Malcolm Smoak, president and chief operating officer for SWEPCO. “Along with the environmental benefits, this additional wind energy will save customers money for years to come, helping families, businesses and the local economy.”
SWEPCO’s long-term plan shows that one-third of the energy used to meet customer demand will come from wind and solar sources. Under the plan, coal-fired generation will decline from 83% to 44% of the company’s resource mix. Wind energy will rise from 9% to 26% and solar will be introduced and rise to 10% of the mix. Natural gas will increase from 7% to 19%.
The proposed addition of 810 megawatts of wind generation will be enough to power 200,000 homes, and customers are expected to save $2 billion over the 30-year life of the wind facilities. The portion of the wind generation allocated to each state may be adjusted based on regulatory approvals. The wind projects in Oklahoma were identified through a competitive bidding process.
“Our customers want cleaner energy,” Smoak said. “Many have renewable energy and sustainability goals of their own, and this addition of wind energy to SWEPCO’s resource mix will help them meet those goals.”
SWEPCO provides customers with 469 megawatts of wind energy under power purchase agreements.