A large, 800-turbine wind farm and associated power line won approval in the first of the four states it will deliver power to.
The 2 GW Wind Catcher project, which American Electric Power wants to build in the Oklahoma Panhandle, will cost $4.5 billion and transmit renewable energy to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
GE Renewable Energy will provide 800 of its 2.5 MW turbines for the wind farm. A 350-mile power transmission line will bring the electricity from the Panhandle to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Wind Catcher is part of our strategy to invest in the energy resources of the future. The Arkansas Commission's decision recognizes the long-term savings and clean energy that Wind Catcher will deliver to our customers," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO. "The Commission thoroughly evaluated our application, including the substantial performance guarantees that were developed during the review process, and they agree that Wind Catcher will provide significant savings and long-term benefits for customers."
The project still needs regulatory approval from FERC as well as utilities boards in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.
The project has already secured a power purchase agreement from Bentonville, Arkansas- based Walmart.