American Electric Power is canceling the Wind Catcher project as a result of the Public Utility Commission of Texas' July 26 decision to deny approval of the project. The project had been approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Louisiana Public Service Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A decision was pending at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The Texas PUC unanimously rejected the project as proposed, saying it doesn’t offer enough benefits for ratepayers as currently structured.
AEP planned to invest $4.5 billion in the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project, a 2,000-megawatt wind farm in the western panhandle of Oklahoma and a dedicated power line to deliver energy produced by the turbines. The wind farm and power line were to deliver high-quality, low-cost wind energy and save PSO and SWEPCO customers more than $7 billion over 25 years.
"We are disappointed that we will not be able to move forward with Wind Catcher, which was a great opportunity to provide more clean energy, lower electricity costs and a more diverse energy resource mix for our customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. "To realize the full benefits of Wind Catcher for customers, timely approvals were required from all jurisdictions so we could complete the project by the end of 2020 and be eligible for 100 percent of the federal production tax credit. We want to thank our employees and our partners for all of their work on the development of the Wind Catcher project.
"The strategic investments we are making in AEP's regulated businesses will continue to support our 5 percent to 7 percent earnings growth rate. We are investing in a cleaner, smarter energy system for our customers and will continue to pursue opportunities to provide the new energy resources and technology solutions that bring value to our customers."
AEP plans to invest $24 billion in 2018 through 2021 to rebuild and enhance aging infrastructure, add advanced technologies to the energy system and create a more reliable and resilient grid to enhance service for customers.