AEP Wins Louisiana Approval to Advance 1.5 Gigawatts of Wind Projects

The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement, allowing  Southwestern Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company Inc., to acquire up to 810 megawatts of wind energy from three projects in Oklahoma, according to a May 27 press release. Following previous regulatory approvals from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, American Electric said it will now be able to acquire the planned 1,485-megawatt portfolio of the North Central wind projects. The total investment in the wind portfolio would be nearly $2 billion, which is expected to save utility customers about $3 billion, net of costs, over 30 years.

The commission also approved an alternative to increase Louisiana’s original allocation of 268 megawatts to an estimated 464 megawatts if Texas does not approve the SWEPCO proposal. The Arkansas Public Service Commission accepted a similar option to increase its allocation of 155 megawatts when it approved the project in May. The project remains under regulatory review in Texas, and SWEPCO will continue to seek approval to allocate a portion of the  renewable energy to benefit its customers in Texas.

SWEPCO will invest $1.01 billion to own 54.5 percent of a 1,485-megawatt portfolio of wind projects, which it plans to buy with Public Service of Oklahoma. The portfolio consists of the 999-megawatt Traverse Wind, 287-megawatt Maverick Wind, and 199-megawatt Sundance Wind projects. The total purchase price for the facilities amounts to $1.86 billion, including interconnection and upgrade costs. The companies selected the three wind facilities through competitive solicitation issued in January 2019. The companies designed the acquisition to be scalable to allow for all or a subset to advance depending on regulatory outcomes.

The smallest wind project will be completed by the end of 2020, utilizing the full production tax credit, while the other two would come online in 2021 qualifying for 80 percent of the federal tax incentive.