Construction financing for the final of three wind farms to be owned by Tulsa-based PSO’s parent company, American Electric Power, has been completed.
International energy giant Invenergy announced the financial milestone Wednesday for its biggest wind energy development to date, the 999-megawatt Traverse Wind Energy Center.
Located in Custer, Blaine, and Kingfisher counties, Traverse is the largest of three wind energy projects being developed by Invenergy as part of the 1,485-megawatt North Central Energy Facilities.
In February 2020, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission OK’d a settlement agreement for Public Service Company to own a share of NCEF and add 675 megawatts of wind energy to serve its customers.
The three wind farms represent a $2 billion investment in Oklahoma, and PSO’s 45.5% ownership piece of the project is projected to save PSO customers more than $1 billion, net of cost, during the time the wind farms are in service. PSO’s partner in the proposal is sister company Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO).
Wind power is used to relieve electric utilities’ heavy reliance on natural gas for fuel. News of the wind farms’ progress also comes as PSO is asking for OCC help on cost recovery plans related to February’s prolonged cold snap. PSO estimated those preliminary costs at $825 million.
The other two projects — 287-megawatt Maverick Wind Energy Center in Major, Garfield and Kingfisher counties and the 199-megawatt Sundance Wind Energy Center in Woods and Major counties — also have closed on financing.
All three projects are under construction, and AEP will assume ownership of them upon start of commercial operations to serve customers of subsidiaries Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and PSO. Sundance is expected to begin commercial operations this spring, Maverick later this year and Traverse in early 2022.
“The close of construction financing for the Traverse Wind project, Invenergy’s largest wind development to date, is a significant milestone,” Meghan Schultz, Invenergy’s senior vice president of financing and capital markets, said in a statement.
“This transaction, in addition to the recent Maverick and Sundance financial closings, is a testament to Invenergy’s strong lender relationships and financing capabilities as well as the compelling value of wind investments.”
The wind farms are scheduled to generate enough electricity to power 440,000 homes.
Invenergy Services, a subsidiary of Invenergy, will provide operations and maintenance, balance of plant, energy management and asset management services under a 10-year agreement.
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