Onshore wind farm
The under-construction 2GW Wind Catcher wind farm in Oklahoma is set to be the biggest wind farm in the US and the second biggest in the world. It is being developed by Invenergy in association with General Electric, as part of the $4.5bn renewable project Wind Catcher Energy Connection, which also includes the construction of a dedicated generation tie-line.
Construction of the Wind Catcher project began in 2016, while operations are expected to be started by mid-2020. The electricity generated by the wind farm is expected to be sufficient to supply for more than 1.1 million customers in south-central US.
American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiaries Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) will acquire the facility from Invenergy upon completion of the construction, while Invenergy will operate the facility for the first five years.
SWEPCO will own 70% of the project and will receive 1,400MW from the project, while PSO will own the remaining stake and is entitled for 600MW.
The wind farm will extend over approximately 300,000 acres in Cimarron & Texas Counties, Oklahoma, leaving 98-99% of land in the site for agricultural use. It will be equipped with 800 GE 2.5MW turbines, which are designed to operate for IEC class II and class III.
The 2.5MW wind turbines have a rotor diameter of 100m and blades measuring 48.7m-long each. The turbines are available in 50Hz and 60Hz frequency modules.
The turbines are equipped with advanced WindSCADA control system for better supervision and control. GE offers the turbines with optional features such as enhanced reactive power, voltage ride thru, and power factor control, which help in efficient transmission of power to the grid.
The machine heads and hubs of the turbines are planned to be manufactured in the US, while the additional components will be manufactured in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
Apart from supplying turbines for the Wind Catcher facility, GE Renewable Energy will also provide its Digital Wind Farm solutions technology as part of its expanded service agreements.
The Digital Wind Farm solution is a comprehensive hardware and software solution based on the Predix software platform, which helps to collect, visualise and analyse unit and site-level data that can be used to identify the turbines’ performance.
The Wind Catcher project will also include the construction of an approximately 350 mile-long, dedicated 765kV power line from Oklahoma Panhandle to Tulsa, in addition to two new substations at the plant site and at Tulsa.
The tie line will supply energy from the wind farm to AEP’s customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Its construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2018 and be completed in late-2020.
AEP awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Wind Catcher Generation Tie Line (Wind Catcher Tie Line) to Quanta Services, a company based in the US.
The Wind Catcher project is expected to help SWEPCO in achieving its target of 2GW of renewable energy production by 2034, as set in the company’s Integrated Resource Plan. Contribution from renewable energy within SWEPCO’s energy resource mix is anticipated to increase from the current 9% to 29%, upon completion of the Wind Catcher project.
The project is expected to create approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs a year during the construction phase and 80 permanent jobs upon start of operations.
The local communities are expected to be benefited by up to $300m in property taxes over the life of the project. The project is also expected to provide a cost savings of $5bn to the customers of SEPCO and $2bn for PSO customers over a period of 25 years.
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