American Electric Power, the parent company of Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced its plans to sell its unregulated wind and solar assets so it can focus more on transmission of electrical power. It’s a move that has a direct affect in Oklahoma.
The announcement came as AEP reported fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of $539 million or $1.07 per share, up from the $436 million and 88 cents a share in the fourth-quarter of 2020.
“In line with our commitment to prioritize investments in our regulated businesses, AEP is beginning a process to sell all or a portion of our unregulated contracted renewables portfolio,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
“This move will simplify and de-risk the company while allowing us to redeploy capital to our regulated businesses, where we see a meaningful pipeline of investment opportunities to enhance service for customers across our footprint,” he added.
Akins said AEP is shifting $1.5 billion in its five-year capital plan to transmission and eliminating growth capital in the unregulated contracted renewables business. It will result in $14.4 billion in planned transmission capital investment.
AEP is also adding nearly 16,000 megawatts of renewables in its regulated states by 2030.
“A key milestone in these efforts is the completion of Traverse, the largest single wind farm ever built in North America,” said Akins.
“Traverse is in the final stages of commissioning, and we expect the facility to go online soon. Traverse, Maverick and Sundance make up our North Central Energy Facilities that will deliver an estimated $3 billion in customer savings over the next 30 years.”
Traverse is under construction in Custer, Blaine and Kingfisher Counties in Oklahoma. It is one of three major wind energy projects being built by Invenergy. The other two are Maverick Wind Energy Center in Major, Garfield and Kingfisher Counties and the Sundance Wind Energy Center in Woods and Major Counties. They went online last year.
Upon completion of Traverse, AEP will assume ownership.
“These clean energy investments and our focus on deploying new technologies and enhancing the grid ensure we are on track to reach our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Akins said.
AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle).
EP also owns AEP Energy, which provides innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.