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United States

Wind Catcher owner plans more renewable investment

UNITED STATES: American Electric Power (AEP), the utility which owns the 2GW Wind Catcher site in Oklahoma, intends to spend an extra $1.8 billion on new renewable generation between 2018 and 2020.

American Electric Power invested $4.5 billion in the Wind Catcher project, which will use 800 of GE's 2.5MW turbines (above)
American Electric Power invested $4.5 billion in the Wind Catcher project, which will use 800 of GE's 2.5MW turbines (above)

AEP expects approximately $1.3 billion of this amount will be for "competitive, contracted renewable projects", it added.

These planned investments do not include its $4.5 billion support for the Wind Catcher project, which is set to comprise 800 of GE’s 2.5MW turbines, according to AEP.

Nicholas Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO, said the company has a 3.57GW-pipeline of wind and solar projects due online in the next seven years in addition to the 2GW Wind Catcher site.

"We are solely focused on making the right investments to be the energy company of the future including modern, smarter infrastructure, advanced technologies, and cleaner generation," he added.

The utility, which operates in 11 US states, also plans to invest $18.2 billion in capital between 2018 and 2020 — 73% of which would be focussed on its transmission and distribution operations, it added.

Approximately $4.4 billion would be invested in distribution systems, while a further $9 billion would be used to grow AEP’s transmission businesses, the company said.

AEP has a 40,000-mile-plus electricity transmission network, which it claims is the largest in the US.

Akins added: "Investments in our distribution and transmission systems will provide significant benefits to customers as we rebuild and enhance ageing infrastructure, add advanced, more efficient technologies, and create a more robust and resilient system.

"These investments support our earnings growth strategy."

The Wind Catcher project will be owned by two AEP subsidiaries: the Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company.

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