Invenergy, North America’s largest independent, privately-held renewable energy company, along with GE Renewable Energy, has announced a 2,000megawatt wind farm that will be the largest in the U.S. and second-largest in the world, once operational. The Wind Catcher facility is currently under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle and will generate wind electricity from 800 state-of-the-art GE 2.5 megawatt turbines.
The wind facility is part of the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection that also includes an approximately 350-mile dedicated, extra-high voltage power line. 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 of construction and to build the power line to serve PSO and SWEPCO’s more than 1.1 million customers.
“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 forwardlooking utilities like PSO and SWEPCO whose customers and communities will benefit from this project for decades to come.”
Wind Catcher Energy Connection is expected to save SWEPCO and PSO customers more than $7 billion, net of cost, over 25 years. AEP estimates that the project will support approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational. It also will contribute approximately $300 million in property taxes over the life of the project.
The 2.5 megawatt GE turbines that will power the project are GE’s latest model, designed to enhance siting efficiency, offer industry-leading reliability and allow for higher energy production. GE will also implement its Digital Wind Farm solutions, providing software to support wind operations including Asset Performance Management (APM) and Operations Optimisation (OO).
All machine heads and hubs will be manufactured in the U.S., and additional components will be manufactured in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. “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.”
Construction of the Wind Catcher facility started in 2016, and it is expected to be fully operational in mid-2020. Invenergy is contracted to operate the facility for the first five years.