Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Largest U.S. Wind Farm Under Construction in Oklahoma’s Panhandle

Aerial photo of the site where the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Facility will be built in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Invenergy

Aerial photo of the site where the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Facility will be built in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The largest wind farm in the U.S. is under construction in Oklahoma’s panhandle, an 800-turbine project expected to deliver electricity to more than 1.1 million customers in four states.

Chicago power developer Invenergy and General Electric teamed up on the 2-gigawatt Wind Catcher Energy Connection facility, which should be online by 2020.

The $4.5 billion project includes 350 miles of 765-kilovolt power line built by American Electric Power to connect the wind farm in Cimarron and Texas counties with a substation north of Tulsa.

AEP is asking state regulators for approval to build the power line and to purchase the electricity and distribute it through subsidiaries Public Service Co. and Southwestern Electric Power Co. to customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Map showing location of Wind Catcher project, including the rough path of a 350-mile power line connecting it to customers in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Invenergy

Map showing location of Wind Catcher project, including the rough path of a 350-mile power line connecting it to customers in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Construction started last year. Invenergy and GE say the project will create 4,400 jobs during construction and 80 permanent jobs. When complete, Wind Catcher is expected to be the second-largest wind farm in the world.

The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports the wind farm still needs approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and it won’t qualify for Oklahoma’s zero-emissions tax credit:

State lawmakers ended the incentive for new wind projects July 1 after concerns about its rising costs. The incentive offered a 0.5 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit that can be carried forward up to 10 years.

“This project is not dependent on any state subsidies,” Invenergy spokeswoman Mary Ryan said in an email.


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Comments

  • stephan011

    Well done, Oklahoma. Article doesn’t mention it, but property tax revenues and lease payments to farmers will run to the millions. Steady income for rural counties.

  • Victor Calvin Hoe

    Where in Oklahoma panhandle is Wind Catcher Wind Farm? Near Guymon, OK?

  • Janice Waltzer Curtis

    Will there be any environmental impact study or is that now a thing of the past? How many birds will the project be allocated to kill annually?

    • Kevin Lee

      It can kill as many as they want if I can get in on the construction of that wind farm… you tree huggers can go else where, maybe somewhere in your fairy taleland where we all live happily ever after.

      • Janice Waltzer Curtis

        Better than the wasteland you desire. Will you still love it if you can’t get in on it and make money?

        • Kevin Lee

          Apparently you’ve never been to the pan handle of Oklahoma, the waste land you speak of is there already. The farmers/landowners make money, construction crew make money, the towns they are built around prospers.. it’s a win win for everyone except the negative libtards that find fault in everything that’s not their ideas. So crawl back in your libtard bubble and leave wind turbines out of this!

    • shawn wymore

      i been in wind 20 years and can tell you cars driving down road kill more birds than any turbine ever will how dumb do you think birds are the turbine doesnt turn that fast and birds can see and avoid them very rarely do birds get killed by wind turbines maam

  • judy gamble

    THIRTY YEARS. Obama, in order to promote his agenda, waved his magic wand and said, ” I grant wind towers 30 years kings X for killing Eagles, our nationally protected bird.” Raptors (hawks and eagles), Canadian geese, and bats are the largest number of victims. These large birds are not stupid, blindly flying into the range of the powerful blades. The problem is they can not judge the rate/speed of the moving blades which varies daily. The groups of bats are sucked into the blades. They don’t have a chance of survival. In a very few years, the eco system will have been altered with devastating results. Raptors keep rodents under control. With such a small surviving population, coyotes will multiply rapidly, creating tremendous problems for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, even towns (Pets will be killed). Fewer Bats equal an uncontrollable population of insects which means crops will suffer, farmers lose money, food prices will go up! We in Oklahoma suffer so that out-of-state and out-of-country companies make big money. Our state suffers so other states benefit with energy. A wind power company official actually said that they were not creating an ugly landscape as the barren land in western Oklahoma is already ugly. I recently traveled to Lawton, Ok. and was sickened because the once beautiful western landscape is now scarred by ugly wind tower monsters as far as the eye can see.

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