SWEPCO reaches agreement in Louisiana on $1 billion proposal for wind farms

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,248 views 

Electricity utility Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), a company of American Electric Power, announced Monday (March 16) a settlement agreement with the Louisiana Public Service Commission staff, the Alliance for Affordable Energy and Walmart Inc. regarding SWEPCO’s $1.01 billion proposal to add 810 megawatts of wind energy.

SWEPCO wants to purchase three wind facilities in north-central Oklahoma, known as the North Central Energy Facilities, along with its sister company, Public Service of Oklahoma (PSO). The Oklahoma Corporation Commission approved Feb. 20 a settlement agreement in PSO’s plan to add 675 megawatts of wind energy.

In January, SWEPCO agreed with all the parties involved in Arkansas. The Arkansas Public Service Commission has yet to decide on the agreement. Also, the Louisiana Public Service Commission has yet to vote on the new agreement in Louisiana.

“This project is a key part of our long-term goal of serving customers with a resource mix of more than one-third renewable energy,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the hard work of all the participants in this regulatory review as we seek to bring more low-cost renewable energy to Louisiana customers.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved SWEPCO and PSO to purchase the wind facilities. The amount of wind energy that will be dedicated to the states is scalable based on which states approve the project. If one state doesn’t approve the project, the planned amount that was to be dedicated to that state could go to the others that approved it.

“The parties are continuing to work through the regulatory process in Texas in the hope that our customers in East Texas and the Panhandle can benefit from this low-cost energy while helping businesses and other customers meet their renewable energy goals,” Smoak said.

SWEPCO serves more than 536,000 customers in three states, including 119,800 in Arkansas.