Following an extensive public involvement process, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) has announced the approximately 360-mile power line route for the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.
The line generally follows a more northerly route among the line routes considered, says PSO, having considered multiple alignments. Additionally, the electric utility company identified three areas for which additional public input will be needed before portions of the route are finalized.
Wind Catcher, a joint effort between PSO and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), will harness wind energy from the western panhandle of Oklahoma – via 800 GE wind turbines – and deliver it to customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, as well as parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
As part of the power line routing process, PSO says it took public input on potential routes. PSO held 11 open houses across northern Oklahoma in the fall, and more than 900 people attended the events, the company says. In addition, PSO collected comments through the Wind Catcher website, direct mail, email and phone calls.
“At PSO, we are committed to working with landowners and the community to bring the benefits of Wind Catcher to customers,” comments John Harper, PSO’s vice president of external affairs. “In addition to bringing customers some of the lowest-cost power available, the communities along the line route will see approximately $300 million in additional property taxes over the next 25 years.”
The company says it will begin working this month with landowners along the portions that need additional studies. Three community open houses are scheduled for January.
Development of the line route began in summer 2017. The overall project is expected to deliver wind energy to customers by the end of 2020.