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Biggest-ever U.S. wind farm suffers blow from Oklahoma judge 

Credit:  By Jim Polson | Bloomberg | February 12, 2018 | www.bloomberg.com ~~

American Electric Power Co.’s proposal for the largest-ever U.S. wind-power project received a setback Monday.

The company failed to prove that customers should pay for the $4.5 billion Oklahoma project through power rates, Mary Candler, an administrative law judge in the state, said in a filing. Her non-binding recommendation will be considered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which has final say on the project.

American Electric wants advance approval from regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to buy the 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher project that Invenergy LLC is developing. The project also calls for a 350-mile (563-kilometer) transmission line, and the utility is seeking to bake the costs into customer rates.

Candler highlighted American Electric’s failure to take competitive bids for the project.

“A project at this price point must be done right,” Candler wrote in the filing. “An excuse of ‘not enough time’ for competitive bidding is not sufficient.”

American Electric has said a delay would risk $2.7 billion of production tax credits that would flow through to customers. It estimated that customers would save about $7 billion over 25 years as wind power displaces generation from natural-gas fueled plants.

The analysis “used unreasonable data” and a “flawed planning process,” Candler wrote.

The judge “ignored the evidence” from the utility, including its guarantee of customer benefits, Stan Whiteford, a spokesman for American Electric’s Oklahoma utility, said in an email. “We’re hopeful the commission will reject the ALJ’s report and approve this project.”

Source:  By Jim Polson | Bloomberg | February 12, 2018 | www.bloomberg.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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