Louisiana approves $1 billion wind farm project

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,819 views 

Southwestern Electric Power Co., a company of Columbus, Ohio-based utility American Electric Power, has received regulatory approval from Louisiana for its plan to invest $1.01 billion to acquire three wind farms in north-central Oklahoma.

SWEPCO announced Wednesday (May 27) the Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved the project that would provide 810 megawatts of renewable energy to customers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

As a result, Texas remains the only state that has not granted regulatory approval for the project. Arkansas Public Service Commission approved the project earlier this month.

SWEPCO plans to purchase the Oklahoma wind farms, known as the North Central Energy Facilities, along with its sister company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma. SWEPCO would own 810 megawatts, or 54.5% of the 1,485-megawatt project, with an investment of $1.01 billion. SWEPCO and PSO will acquire the farms when they are completed in 2020 and 2021.

The project is expected to save SWEPCO customers $2 billion over the 30-year expected life of the wind facilities. If only two states were to approve the project, those states could increase the number of megawatts allocated to them.

In Louisiana, the project was approved along with SWEPCO’s proposal to add up to 200 megawatts of solar energy. The solar resources would be located within SWEPCO’s existing service territory and construction would start in the next three years.

“This is the largest renewable-energy project ever put forward by a Louisiana utility,” said Foster Campbell, commissioner for the Louisiana Public Service Commission. “I’m proud that the Louisiana commission is making this move. And I’m happy that it has a northwest Louisiana solar component to go along with the wind power.”

Based in Shreveport, La., SWEPCO has more than 536,300 customers in three states, including 119,800 in Arkansas.

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