Wind Catcher suffers costs setback
Oklahoma regulator rules out American Electric plan to recover acquisition bill
An Oklahoma regulator has dealt a blow to American Electric Power’s 2GW Wind Catcher project.
The utility failed to prove that ratepayers should shoulder the cost of the $4.5bn project, administrative law judge Mary Candler said in a report to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Candler’s recommendation to deny is not binding and the commission will make the final decision.
American Electric is seeking advance approval from regulators in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to buy the project and a new 563km transmission line and recover the cost through customer rates.
The judge said American Electric failed to get competitive bids and used a flawed planning process.
The utility claims a delay will jeopardise $2.7bn of production tax credits that will lower costs for customers.
Invenergy broke ground in 2016 on the Wind Catcher project, which features 800 GE 2.5MW turbines.
The US developer expects to start operation in mid-2020.