Electric utility Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Walmart, Inc. have reached a settlement agreement on PSO’s proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project. PSO and Walmart are requesting the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve the project under the terms of the settlement agreement.
The $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project includes acquisition of a 2,000-MW wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle near Guymon, with a dedicated generation tie line to the Tulsa area, where the energy will be delivered to customers.
Wind Catcher is expected to save PSO customers around $2 billion over the 25 years the project is in service. The new wind energy will complement PSO’s existing power resources, which include wind, natural gas, power purchases, and coal. The project is a partnership between PSO and sister company, SWEPCO. PSO’s share of the project investment is $1.36 billion.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Walmart, one of our valued customers, to advance the Wind Catcher project,” said Stuart Solomon, PSO President and Chief Operating Officer. “This agreement recognizes the tremendous benefits Wind Catcher will deliver to Walmart and all of our other customers across Oklahoma.”
In the agreement with Walmart, PSO made additional guarantees beyond those initially offered to further demonstrate the Company’s commitment to deliver extraordinary benefits to customers. Those additional guarantees include new reporting requirements, a lower cost cap on project construction costs, and an assurance that Oklahoma customers will receive, at a minimum, the same benefits afforded SWEPCO customers.
“Projects like Wind Catcher help Walmart meet our goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Vice President of Energy at Walmart. “As a PSO customer, we look forward to seeing this important project move forward to provide the renewable, affordable energy we need to help meet our business goals.”
When it comes on line in late 2020, Wind Catcher will be the lowest cost energy on PSO’s system. Customers will see savings primarily through a reduction in the fuel portion of their bills. With Wind Catcher, PSO customers will receive 40% of their energy from Oklahoma wind resources.
“At PSO, we’re committed to meeting our customers’ expectations for clean, affordable, and sustainable energy sources, and Wind Catcher will provide those benefits to customers,” said Solomon. “Oklahoma is blessed with abundant, high quality wind resources and Wind Catcher will turn that wind into low cost energy, while also providing jobs and new revenues for schools and local governments.”
Wind Catcher will add thousands of jobs to the Oklahoma economy and provide $60 million in state and local taxes during construction. The project will provide an estimated $300 million in property taxes and 80 to 90 permanent jobs while in service.