- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

SWEPCO wind farm proposal sparks concern for Arkansans

A $4.5 billion dollar wind farm proposal by SWEPCO is in the works, but an organization believes this project will hurt Arkansan’s pocketbooks.

According to SWEPCO, the goal of the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project in Oklahoma is to deliver customers in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana more affordable power.

Over the past few months, Protect Our Pocketbooks has released anonymously funded ads across the Natural State against SWEPCO’s Wind Catcher proposal

“Our very concern is this project is ill-advised. It’s not in the best interest of ratepayers,” said Justin Allen, president of Protect Our Pocketbooks.

But SWEPCO said that’s not the case.

“What they fail to mention is that the fuel costs more than offsets the cost of the project. And that’s where the savings come in,” said Peter Main, a SWEPCO spokesman.

Main said this project will build a massive wind farm in Western Oklahoma.

It’s customers in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana will benefit from the new source of renewable energy.

“It’s a terrific opportunity to tap into that resource, to deliver renewable energy to our customers and do so at a price that will actually reduce their electricity cost,” explained Main.

Allen said only Oklahoma will reap the benefits of the project.

He said the group is pro-renewable and wants to see companies like SWEPCO take advantage of what the Natural State has to offer.

“We got other renewable energy sources. Whatever the case may be, let’s make that work for Arkansas,” said Main.

But main said customers will see the 600 million recovery cost at first but in the long run more cash in their pocket.

“Wind energy does not have a fuel cost. Wind is free. So when you take cost of construction and the project, and you offset that by lower fuel costs across our entire company that’s the benefit to the customers,” said Main.

Allen explained, “If it turns out that we and others are correct that it’s not going to work and save the money that SWEPCO is going to save, they’re going to feel that.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson released a statement and said: “Our Public Service Commission is reviewing this, and I am confident that the commissioners will view this from the standpoint of Arkansas rate-payers and ensure that we won’t be saddled with the cost of an investment in Oklahoma.”

The Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision on the project by the end of April.