Consumer group wants closer review of PSO’s Wind Catcher Project

One consumers’ group, Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma is asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to take a closer look at the $5.4 billion Wind Catcher Energy project proposed by Public Service Company of Oklahoma.

The group delivered letters from more than 600 Oklahomans to the commission on Monday. It also issued a challenge in the form of a letter to the commissioners to answer critical questions about the massive wind farm and transmission project.

“We ask the commission to thoroughly exercise its oversight authority by carefully considering the numerous risks in the light of the uncertain benefits this scheme proposes. Preventing gambling and imprudent decision-making with the funds of ratepayers and taxpayers is at the core of the mission of the commission, and we ask they take that mission seriously,” said AFP-OK State Director John Tidwell. “Oklahomans have fair and legitimate questions that should be answered in this worrisome, rushed process. In its current form, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a risky scheme that is simply not a good deal for Oklahomans.”

His group raised a series of questions about the project.

  • What if the project sees delays in construction, or hits legal roadblocks and fails to qualify for the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC)?
  • Why does the Commission not include the massive cost of the PTC to taxpayers in conducting its cost-benefit analysis?
  • What if the capacity factor never reaches projected estimates on an annual basis or declines more rapidly than anticipated as the project ages?
  • Because there are little to no increases in power demand, what other generation resources will be forced to retire because this heavily subsidized project will be built?  Will those retirements result in losses of local tax dollars to the communities in which those assets are located?
  • What would the estimated benefits of the project be, absent the overly aggressive assumptions built into model? Could it be a net loss for Oklahoma ratepayers?
  • Is it fair to expose ratepayers to this high-level risk on a project that has failed to provide a compelling argument?

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