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American Electric Power plans 5.3GW by 2030

UNITED STATES: The utility behind the country's largest project is planning to add nearly 5.3GW of wind capacity to its portfolio by 2030.

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)

American Electric Power (AEP) announced plans to add 5,295MW of wind power and 3,065MW of solar power by 2030 in a new report outlining its corporate strategy.

This extra capacity would include the 800-turbine, 2GW Wind Catcher project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The utility, which operates in 11 states including wind-rich Texas and Oklahoma, also plans to invest approximately $1.2 billion in contracted renewables and renewables integrated with energy storage, it stated in its Strategic Vision for a Clean Energy Future 2018 report.

In November, AEP announced its intention to spend an extra $1.8 billion on new renewable generation between 2018 and 2020

It will also invest nearly $13 billion over the next three years in its transmission and distribution system "to enhance the efficiency and resiliency of the energy delivery system", the utility added.

It had previously stated that approximately $4.4 billion would be invested in distribution systems, while $9 billion would be used to grow AEP’s transmission business.

Nicholas Akins, AEP’s president and CEO, said: "AEP is focused on modernising the power grid, expanding renewable energy resources and delivering cost-effective, reliable energy to our customers."

The company has invested $4.5 billion in the 2GW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, which would be one of the largest wind farms in the US when completed.

Wind Catcher is awaiting regulatory approval in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Two AEP subsidiaries — the Public Service Company of Oklahoma and the Southwestern Electric Power Company — will own Wind Catcher.

Akins had said in November that the company has a 3.57GW-pipeline of wind and solar projects due online by 2025 in addition to Wind Catcher.

This would leave a deficit of nearly 2.8GW wind and solar projects between AEP’s pipeline and its 2030 ambitions.

An updated figure was not included in the latest report.

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