by Joshua S. Hill, Clean Technica
North America’s largest independent renewable energy company, Invenergy, has announced that it is partnering with GE Renewable Energy to build the 2 GW Wind Catcher onshore wind farm, which will be the world’s second largest and the United States’ largest wind farm once completed.
Announced on Wednesday, Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy revealed that they would be teaming up to build the 2 gigawatt (GW) Wind Catcher onshore wind farm, currently under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle. The 2,000 megawatt (MW) wind farm will consist of 800 GE 2.5 MW wind turbines — GE’s latest wind turbine model, which is specifically designed for siting efficiency, allowing for higher energy production.
“GE is delighted to be a part of the groundbreaking Wind Catcher project with Invenergy and American Electric Power,” said Pete McCabe, President and CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind business. “We look forward to putting our teams to work in these communities as we continue to move toward our goal of ensuring that no one has to choose between sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.”
The Wind Catcher onshore wind is part of the larger, $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection that will also see the construction of approximately 350 miles of dedicated, extra-high-voltage power lines.
“Wind Catcher shows American leadership in bringing low-cost clean energy to market at giga scale,” said Invenergy’s Founder and CEO, Michael Polsky. “This project reflects Invenergy’s innovative spirit and unparalleled execution ability, and we are proud to be working with forward-looking utilities like PSO and SWEPCO whose customers and communities will benefit from this project for decades to come.”
Already, American Electric Power (AEP) utility subsidiaries Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) are asking utility regulators in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma to approve plans to purchase the wind farm from Invenergy upon completion in 2020, and to allow construction of the power line to serve the 1.1 million customers PSO and SWEPCO have in comination. If approved, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection will save SWEPCO and PSO customers more than $7 billion over 25 years. Further, AEP predicts that the project will support around 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction, and 80 permanent jobs upon completion, while also contributing approximately $300 million in property taxes over the life of the project.
PSO and SWEPCO are partnering to invest in the $4.5 billion project, which will allow PSO to own 600 MW of the completed project. PSO expects to save its customers more than $2 billion from the wind project. Meanwhile, SWEPCO will own 1,400 MW of the project and expects to save its customers more than $5 billion.
“This is an exciting opportunity to provide a significant amount of clean, renewable energy and long-term cost savings for SWEPCO customers,” said Venita McCellon-Allen, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We are working to meet the future energy needs of our customers in the cleanest, most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, and at the same time continuing to diversify our energy resource mix.”
“PSO is very excited about this extraordinary opportunity to reduce costs for our customers by delivering to them high quality, very low-priced Oklahoma wind energy,” added Stuart Solomon, PSO president and chief operating officer. “At the same time, the Wind Catcher project will boost the Oklahoma economy, create thousands of new jobs, and provide tax revenues for local governments. There’s never been a project like Wind Catcher, and we’re pleased to bring it forward for the benefit of our customers and the state.”
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