Saturday, April 13, 2024

Louisiana Public Service Commission Approves SWEPCO Renewable Projects

by BIZ Magazine

Southwestern Electric Power Co., an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, has received approval by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) to move forward with its fuel-free power plan to acquire up to 999 megawatts (MW) of renewable generation resources.

The LPSC today 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.”

One solar and two wind projects are to be constructed by Invenergy and acquired by SWEPCO. The three projects were identified through a competitive bidding process. They are:

  • Mooringsport, a 200 MW solar facility located in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
  • Diversion, a 200.6 MW wind facility in Baylor County, Texas
  • Wagon Wheel, a 598.4 MW wind facility located in Garfield, Kingfisher, Logan, Payne, and Noble counties in Oklahoma.

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.

Three wind farms in north-central Oklahoma already deliver renewable energy to SWEPCO’s Louisiana and Arkansas customers.

Today’s 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.

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