American Electric Power (AEP) Is Planning To Build A Two-Gigawatt Wind Farm
The American Electric Power (AEP) is building the largest wind farm in the US in Oklahoma, but there’s a growing fight over the two-gigawatt wind power project which may reshape how Americans pay for renewable energy, reports Bloomberg.
The project, Wind Catcher, is proposed to occupy a 121,206-hectare (300,000 acres), consist of 800 2.5-megawatt turbines and represent one of the biggest wind farms in the world. It will generate about two-gigawatts of electricity, which will be enough to serve about 1.1 million customers. The Chicago-based power development company Inenergy LLC and General Electric Co are said to be working on the project valued $4.5 billion. AEP is proposing to generate over $6 billion in customer savings after 25-years of service. But the recent tussle is AEP wanting “upfront guarantees from regulators that customers will pay the bill.”
This proposal calls for a financial model which has long been used in building plants powered by natural gas and nuclear by cost tracking. The model has been widely accepted in building solar and wind farms recently. However, AEP is said to be accessing the limits after requesting for permission from regulators in four states to adopt the strategy for the ongoing Wind Catcher project which is set to be completed by 2020.
While American Electric is currently facing tough times getting approvals, critics have described the project as “potential boondoggle,” considering customer’s fate if the project didn’t go as planned – they could be stuck with the bill. An administrative judge in Oklahoma had advised State regulators in February to decline the proposal from AEP, which will also need approvals from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, where the company plans to recover the project cost.