Fourth Oklahoma wind farm to supply SWEPCO customers in Arkansas and Louisiana

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With three wind farms in north-central Oklahoma already delivering renewable energy to Southwestern Electric Power company’s customers in Louisiana and Arkansas, a fourth is soon being added.

The Wagon Wheel, a 598.4 MW wind facility located in Garfield, Kingfisher, Logan, Payne, and Noble counties in Oklahoma was one of three renewable energy projects to be constructed by Invenergy and acquired by SWEPCO. The three projects, one solar and two wind farms, were identified through a competitive bidding process.

The second wind farm, Diversion, a 200.6 MW facility will be built in Baylor County, Texas while the Mooringsport, a 200 MW solar farm will be located in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.

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SWEPCO just received approval by the Louisiana Public Service Commission to move forward with its fuel-free power plan to acquire up to 999 megawatts of renewable generation resources.

The LPSC  approved the terms of a settlement agreement reached on March 10, 2023, by all parties in the proceeding, subject to certain procedural conditions moving forward. This effort will help meet projected power needs while protecting customers from volatility in energy costs.

The additional generating capacity is necessary to meet the energy needs of SWEPCO customers. That need has increased due to new rules from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) that require utilities to have available additional generation capacity to support reliability. SPP is the 14-state grid-balancing authority that includes Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

“SWEPCO’s analysis of our generation needs showed that the lowest cost, best value option for capacity was adding wind and solar resources,” said Brett Mattison, SWEPCO president and Chief Operating Officer. “We appreciate our regulatory commissioners allowing us to bring more low-cost, renewable energy to Louisiana customers.”

Brett Mattison

SWEPCO’s need for capacity is driven by the retirement of aging SWEPCO generation units. With these retirements, SWEPCO is facing a capacity deficit beginning in 2023 that grows to 1,574 MW in 2028 after the retirement of other generating units. SWEPCO intends to evaluate and/or conduct additional requests for proposals to explore more opportunities to add low-cost generation and capacity in the coming years.

SWEPCO’s long-term strategy calls for more than one-third of its SPP-accredited capacity to be satisfied with wind and solar resources.

The recent action by the LPSC, in conjunction with the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s June 1 approval, allows SWEPCO to move forward with plans to acquire up to 999 MW of renewable generation resources.

SWEPCO serves more than 551,000 customers in three states, including 125,992 in Arkansas.

Source: news release