SWEPCO signs wind energy agreements as part of coal-fired project settlement

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) has signed long-term power purchase agreements for a total of 358.65 MW of wind energy from projects in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Along with a 49.2 MW agreement signed by the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA), SWEPCO and its affiliates’ total wind capacity will be 407.85 MW, exceeding the 400 MW renewable energy commitment in a recent settlement of legal issues involving the 600 MW John W. Turk Jr. coal-fired power plant.

The new series of 20-year agreements includes:

Three contracts totaling 201.25 MW from Canadian Hills Wind LLC, owned by Apex Wind Energy Holdings LLC and located in Oklahoma;

79.6 MW from High Majestic Wind II LLC, owned by NextEra Energy Resources LLC and located in Texas; and

77.8 MW from Flat Ridge 2 Wind Energy LLC, owned by BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power and located in Kansas. All three wind farms are expected to come online by the end of 2012.

A separate 25-year agreement was signed by OMPA, a co-owner of the Turk Plant, for 49.2 MW from the Canadian Hills wind project in Oklahoma, bringing the total to 407.85 MW.

SWEPCO announced on Dec. 22, 2011, that the company had settled all legal actions brought against it by environmental groups related to the construction of the $1.7 billion Turk Plant in Arkansas. The plant is scheduled to begin commercial operations in late 2012.

The settlement included a provision that SWEPCO and its affiliates construct or secure 400 MW of new renewable energy resources by the end of 2014.

The wind resources will be interconnected to SWEPCO through the transmission facilities of the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization that includes SWEPCO and other utilities across parts of nine states.

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