The Public Utility Commission of Texas recently denied approval of Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s (SWEPCO) plan to add 309 MW of wind energy to serve Texas customers. However, American Electric Power (AEP) has received the other regulatory approvals needed to acquire the entire planned 1485 MW of North Central wind generation. The AEP is investing approximately US$2 billion to bring new renewable energy to Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) customers and SWEPCO customers in Arkansas and Louisiana.
"We are disappointed that our SWEPCO customers in Texas will not be able to benefit from the low-cost wind energy the North Central projects will provide," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president, and chief executive officer. "The regulatory approvals we have received in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will allow us to move ahead with the North Central wind projects at full scale, saving our customers in those states approximately US$3 billion over the next 30 years. As we transition to a clean energy future, our investment in the North Central wind projects supports economic and business development in our communities and will help our customers meet their renewable energy goals."
North Central includes three wind generation facilities located in north central Oklahoma. The AEP's SWEPCO and PSO operating units announced on July 15, 2019, that they would seek regulatory approvals to purchase the three wind projects. The projects are expected to be completed over the course of the next two years.
The Arkansas and Louisiana Public Service Commissions approved the projects in May, and the PSO received approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in February. The FERC also approved the acquisitions in February.
The PSO will acquire 675 MW of the North Central wind projects to serve its customers in Oklahoma. The Arkansas and Louisiana commissions approved options to increase their allocations of wind energy if another state did not approve the projects. With these options, an estimated 464 MW will be allocated to Louisiana and 268 MW to Arkansas, while wholesale customers will benefit from 78 MW for a total of 810 MW that will serve SWEPCO customers.