PSO "Wind Catcher" Project Canceled After Texas Denies Approval

Friday, July 27th 2018, 8:26 pm

The electric utility, PSO canceled the "Wind Catcher" project on Friday.

The project would have created the nation's largest wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle and delivered the electricity to Tulsa.

Experts say the project was so big it could have replaced half of all the generation power PSO has available now. But in reality, the power, the $4.5 billion cost, and the fact that any savings would be spread across 5 states was too big of a hurdle for the project.

The Wind Catcher farm would have harnessed power from 800 new turbines and sent electricity on a power line to Tulsa. Along the route, PSO faced opposition from landowners and today some are celebrating.

“The Wind Catcher project was corporate greed disguised as green energy and consumer benefits,” said Bixby Landowner Maurice Storm

7/25/2018 Related Story: Creek County Landowner Arguing Against Wind Catcher Program

The routing of the power line was the main issue, where neighborhoods and communities organized against it. While some communities were looking forward to the new taxes the power company would pay. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission had not yet ruled on the application when Texas turned it down late Thursday evening.

"The costs are known. We know what the costs are, likely - although those are projected. But the benefits are based on a lot of assumptions that are questionable," said DeAnn T. Walker, Public Utility Commission of Texas chairwoman.

"We had already received approvals in 3 of the 5 (states) that we needed, but when Texas turned down SWEPCO's application, that effectively killed the project," said PSO representative Stan Whiteford,

Whiteford said the company will now look for other ways to ensure they have adequate power, at good prices.

“It was an opportunity really though to do a hedge against future fuel prices, right, it would have locked in prices for 25 years and a hedge against other fuel prices," said Whiteford.

Construction had not started on the wind farm or the powerline to Tulsa.