AEP seeks approval for 995MW Oklahoma solar and wind portfolio

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A 27MWp solar project in Kansas. Image: Sterling and Wilson.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), a subsidiary of utility American Electric Power (AEP), has petitioned the state corporate commission for approval to purchase a 995.5MW solar PV and wind portfolio.

Dubbed the fuel-free power plan, the petition consists of three solar PV plants and three wind plants. The 189MW Pixley solar project in Barber County, Kansas is scheduled to be completed in April 2025, and the 103MW Chisholm Trail solar plant and 150MW Algodon solar plant in Texas are due to come online in December of the same year.

The plan will include a total investment of US$2.47 billion.

AEP said that the installations will protect PSO customers from energy price volatility driven by natural gas costs, as well as meeting the projected power needs. The increase in generation requirement comes as a result of rules introduced by the Southwest Power Pool, the 14-state grid balancing authority for the region, that mandates additional capacity to increase reliability and stability in the grid.

“At PSO we understand the importance of providing affordable service and through this plan, we are excited to keep delivering on that commitment to our customers,” said PSO president and COO Leigh Anne Strahler. “This investment in fuel-free power is another step in our efforts to shield our customers against high costs while meeting their energy needs.”

The company said that, once the facilities are all operational at the end of 2025, the average PSO customer can expect a US$3.48 monthly bill increase, though they added a caveat that the volatility of energy prices prevents any exact prediction.

The US was recently highlighted as the most attractive global market for renewables in a report by EY which specified the need for PV and wind projects like these to diversify and decentralise electricity grids in developed nations.  

PSO currently operates around 3.8GW of generation capacity. AEP said that it is targeting 50% of its capacity to be fulfilled by renewable energy by 2032.

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