Experts Agree: Wind Catcher is Risky Business
We’ve had lots of questions on why SWEPCO’s Wind Catcher is such a bad and risky deal.
Protect Our Pocketbooks supports clean energy and is not opposed to wind energy solutions, but this specific project hurts consumers.
Here are the top 5 reasons to oppose Wind Catcher.
Reason #1: Oklahoma Gets All the Jobs and Economic Benefits
This project is being built along Oklahoma’s Panhandle and will transport electricity to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. 4,000 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs are going to Oklahoma to build and maintain this wind farm – plus big improvements to Oklahoma infrastructure. Not Louisiana. We just get to pick up the $900 million bill. Louisiana should invest in clean energy solutions that benefit local communities, not import it from other states.
Reason #2: Significant Risk that Costs Will Outweigh Benefits
“Staff recommends denial of the proposed Wind Catcher CCN, as there is not a sufficient degree of likelihood that any cost savings would offset the costs of the project…. Moreover, SWEPCO has a history of going over budget on generation projects.” -- Public Utility Commission of Texas Legal Division
Wind Catcher is estimated to cost over $4.5 billion to build, with Louisiana ratepayers on the hook for $900 million. Officials in both Texas and Oklahoma have recognized the potential risk for cost overruns. Plus, SWEPCO has a history of going over budget on generation projects.
Reason #3: Delays will Affect the Value of SWEPCO’s Proposal
SWEPCO’s assumptions and so-called savings are based on the timely construction of a 300-mile long transmission line from Oklahoma that imports electricity into Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. With regulatory approval needed in all four states and expected property owner opposition to a huge transmission line in their backyard – this project is likely to be delayed somewhere along the line.
Reason #4: High Risks of Reduced Energy Output or Outages Leading to Higher Energy Costs
“However, there are significant risks…of reduced energy output, the risk of outages on the generation tie-line.” – Public Utility Commission of Texas Legal Division
Reduced energy output or outages along the gen-tie line – or interconnecting power line - could hurt the project’s performance and cause increased rates! SWEPCO cannot accurately predict energy output from this wind farm.
Customers are still responsible for the project costs, regardless of performance.
Reason #5: So-Called Savings are Theoretical and Consumers Could Pay the Price
“Conversely, project savings are driven by market conditions and are not guaranteed…Thus…customers will be responsible for all the fixed project costs and bear the entire risk of whether energy savings, which are subject to market forces, will materialize.” – OPUC expert witness Karl Nalepa
Risk of lower than projected margins on sales of energy could cause the savings to be insufficient to offset the revenue requirement ratepayers would be required to pay. All the savings are theoretical and based on an uncertain energy future. Savings won’t be realized for decades, if at all.
The more you learn about SWEPCO’s Wind Catcher, the more you realize it’s not what it seems. Public officials in Oklahoma and Texas have concluded the alleged savings don’t add up. Louisiana shouldn’t be fooled!
Call or write your Public Service Commission today and demand they say no to SWEPCO’s Wind Catcher before it’s too late!
Louisiana Public Service Commission - Call (800)-256-2397 or E-mail