The 2-GW wind farmâ€”called the â€œWind Catcherâ€, is expected to provide electricity to 1.1 million utility customers in the region
The Oklahoma Panhandle â€“featuring some of the best wind in America- will soon host the largest single-site wind farm in the US and the second largest in the world (after Gansu Wind Farm Project in China). When completed in 2020, the so-called â€˜Wind Catcherâ€™ project will supply 2,000 MW of electricity to 1.1 million energy customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. The wind farm will be equipped with 800 GE 2.5 megawatt turbines, when a typical U.S. wind farm may have between 50 and 100 turbines.
The Wind Catcher facility, developed by Invenergy, will be part of the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection, which will include a proposed 360-mile, extra-high-voltage power line constructed by American Electric Power (AEP) to connect two new substations, one located at the wind facility and a second one near Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the cost of wind power has fallen dramatically in recent years, the project is expected to bring approximately $300 million to local communities in property taxes over its life and provide a cost savings of $7 billion over 25 years for customers, while supporting approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational.
However, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection project is still subject to approval by utility commissions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Last month, an administrative law judge in Oklahoma ruled that American Electric Power failed to take competitive bids for the project. Despite the existing fears about the projectâ€™s delay that would risk $2.7 billion of production tax credit, the judgeâ€™s recommendation will be considered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which has final say on the project.
Image source: Wind Catcher