Being built by private renewable energy firm Invenergy, the 2GW facility will be the largest in the US
Chicago-based Invenergy has joined forces with GE Renewable Energy to build the Wind Catcher facility in the northeast of Oklahoma. Comprising 800 2.5MW GE wind turbines, the windfarm, in a region known as the panhandle, is expected to be fully operational by 2020.
The windfarm is part of a much larger project known as the Wind Catcher Energy Connection. Costing some $4.5bn, the project includes an extra-high voltage power line around 350 miles long that will connect the wind farm to some 1.1 million consumers in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Invenergy is asking utility regulators in those states to approve plans for the windfarm to be bought by the subsidiaries of generation and transmission company American Electric Power (AEP) which serve the region once it is completed; the plan is that those companies, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and South Western Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), would then build the power line part of the project.
GE will use its Digital Wind Farm software to operate the wind farm, including asset performance management and operations optimisation. All of the machine heads and hubs for the turbines will be made in the US, Invenergy adds, with additional components sourced from the regions the farm will serve. AEP estimates that Wind Catcher will create 4000 jobs and support 4500 indirect jobs per year during its construction, and will have a permanent staff of 80 once operational.
“This project reflects Invenergy’s innovative spirit and unparalleled execution ability, and we are proud to be working with forward-looking utilities like PSO and SWEPCO whose customers and communities will benefit from this project for decades to come,” commented Invenergy founder and chief executive Michael Polsky.
“GE is delighted to be a part of the groundbreaking Wind Catcher project with Invenergy and American Electric Power,” added Pete McCabe, President and CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind business. “We look forward to putting our teams to work in these communities as we continue to move toward our goal of ensuring that no one has to choose between sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.”
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