AEP to invest $4.5bn in wind project in Oklahoma, US


American Electric Power (AEP) has unveiled its plan to invest $4.5bn in a new 2GW windpower facility in the western panhandle of Oklahoma, US. 

Named Wind Catcher Energy Connection, the site will be equipped with 800 GE 2.5MW turbines and will be the largest, single-site wind project in the US once complete.

Currently being developed by Invenergy, Wind Catcher will be able to provide around nine million megawatt-hours of wind energy a year to its customers in the US states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

In order to purchase power from the farm, AEP’s utility subsidiaries Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power (SWEPCO) are set to seek permission from the utility regulators in the four states.

PSO and SWEPCO will also seek approval to build a 350-mile, extra high-voltage power line to deliver the farm’s energy to customers.

"Wind Catcher will be able to provide around nine million megawatt-hours of wind energy a year to its customers in the US states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas."

SWEPCO will own 70% of the project, including 1,400MW of wind, while the remaining 30% share and 600MW of energy will be owned by PSO.

AEP chairman, president and CEO Nicholas Akins said: “AEP is moving to a cleaner energy future, driven by new technologies and the expectations of our customers and shareholders. 

“We are diversifying our generation mix to include more renewables, and we’re also investing in a smarter, more efficient and resilient electricity grid to support these new resources and technologies.

"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."

During construction, Wind Catcher is expected to support around 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs per annum and will support 80 permanent positions when operational.