SWEPCO, other Arkansas parties reach agreement in wind power proposal

Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (AEP) company, has reached a settlement agreement with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) General Staff, the Office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Walmart, Inc. regarding SWEPCO’s proposal to add 810 megawatts (MW) of wind energy.

The unanimous settlement agreement, filed Jan. 24, 2020, seeks final APSC approval for SWEPCO’s proposed purchase of three wind generation facilities in Oklahoma.

“We’re pleased that the parties in this proceeding have carefully reviewed the proposal and reached an agreement that will provide more clean, low-cost energy to Arkansas customers,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “This project supports our long-term strategy of renewable energy providing more than one-third of the resource mix serving our customers. In addition to the environmental benefits of wind energy, SWEPCO customers will save an estimated $2 billion over the 30-year expected life of the new facilities.”

SWEPCO is proposing to acquire three wind facilities in north central Oklahoma – known as the North Central Energy Facilities – in conjunction with its sister company, Public Service of Oklahoma (PSO). SWEPCO will own 54.5% of the 1,485-MW project with an investment of $1.01 billion. 

In filings submitted July 15, 2019, SWEPCO is seeking approval of its proposal from utility regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. The proposal is scalable to align with regulatory approvals by state, subject to commercial limitations. States that approve the project would have the ability to increase the number of megawatts allocated to them should another state or states reject the proposal. The proposal is also subject to review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

SWEPCO serves more than 536,300 customers in three states, including 119,800 in Arkansas.