Wind Catcher Energy Connection – a Driver for Economic Development
|Written in collaboration with Eric Basinger
Economic & Business Development Manager
Southwestern Electric Power Company
AEP continues to invest in a diverse mix of energy resources – including renewable energy and natural gas – to provide customers with the reliable power they need to grow and expand their businesses. In July 2017, we announced Wind Catcher Energy Connection (Wind Catcher), a $4.5 billion renewable energy project that will bring new, low-cost power to our customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and north Texas.
The Wind Catcher facility will be the largest single-site wind farm in America and the second-largest in the world. The 2,000-megawatt facility will be developed in Oklahoma’s panhandle and will include a tie-line to deliver the wind energy to customers in AEP communities. Construction began in 2016 and operations are expected to begin in 2020. The project will be co-owned by AEP subsidiaries Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO).
Wind Catcher will provide nearly 9 million megawatt-hours of new wind energy annually and is expected to save customers more than $7 billion, net of cost, over 25 years. The project will also create approximately 4,000 direct jobs and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational.
Large renewable energy projects like Wind Catcher provide great benefit to customers, economic developers and site selectors. Not only do customers save money over time on their electric bills, but large renewable energy projects also provide additional diversity in where that energy comes from.
Many companies, especially in tech, are looking for new site locations that can provide them with renewable energy options. A recent report by Edison Energy found that 72 percent of large companies headquartered in the United States are actively pursuing additional renewable energy purchases.
Locations that can deliver sustainable energy options have a leg up on the competition when they can provide affordable renewable energy. Increasingly, companies like Amazon and Facebook, among others, are looking for clean energy options to power their new locations.
AEP is dedicated to a cleaner energy future, driven by the availability of new technology and the expectations of our customers. Wind Catcher is consistent with our strategic investments in energy resources that will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities. We are investing in many other renewable wind and solar projects across our service territory to diversify our power portfolio, and have already cut carbon emissions by more than 44 percent since 2000.
How can we help you meet your renewable energy goals?