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Dominion Energy Announces Plans to Pursue New Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Facility Virginia

LCG, September 8, 2017--Dominion Energy Virginia announced yesterday that it will proceed with its plan to study the feasibility of a new pumped storage hydroelectric facility in the coalfield region of Southwest Virginia by conducting in-depth studies of two potential sites: a 4,100-acre site in Tazewell County and an abandoned mine in Wise County. The preliminary estimate for a single facility could be in the range of $2 billion.

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Georgia Power Files Recommendation to Complete Construction of Vogtle Nuclear Expansion Project

LCG, September 1, 2017--Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power filed a recommendation yesterday with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction of the Vogtle nuclear expansion near Augusta, Georgia. The project's co-owners, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, all support the recommendation, which is based on the results of a comprehensive schedule, cost-to-complete and cancellation assessment.

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Industry News

Oklahoma's Attorney General May Hinder Development of 2,000-MW Wind Catcher Project

LCG, August 17, 2017--The Attorney General of Oklahoma's public utility division filed a motion last Friday calling for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to dismiss a preapproval case for Public Service Company of Oklahoma's Wind Catcher project, a planned 2,000-MW wind farm than includes construction of an approximately 350-mile, dedicated, extra-high voltage electric transmission line to deliver the renewable energy to customers.

The motion states that the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) did not follow competitive bidding rules and has not shown the need for new generation resources. Furthermore, the motion states, "The Attorney General's full participation is essential, as PSO's customers are at risk to bear the $1.36 billion cost of the Wind Catcher project if the commission grants PSO's requested relief."

American Electric Power (AEP), the parent to utility subsidiaries PSO and Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), last month announced plans to acquire the Wind Catcher project, located in the Oklahoma panhandle. The project developer is Invenergy, and the project will include 800 GE 2.5-MW turbines. Construction began in 2016, and the project is expected to be fully operational in mid-2020. Invenergy is contracted to operate the facility for the first five years. Once completed, the project is expected to be the largest, single-site wind project in the United States.

AEP's announcement estimates the total investment for the project will be $4.5 billion, inclusive of all costs. AEP expects the project to save SWEPCO and PSO customers more than $7 billion, net of cost, over 25 years.

AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer stated, "AEP is moving to a cleaner energy future, driven by new technologies and the expectations of our customers and shareholders. We are diversifying our generation mix to include more renewables, and we're also investing in a smarter, more efficient and resilient electricity grid to support these new resources and technologies. This project is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities."

As announced, SWEPCO will own 70 percent of the project, including 1,400 MW of wind capacity. PSO will own 30 percent of the project, including 600 MW of wind capacity. The project is subject to regulatory approvals in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, along with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The PSO's request for preapproval estimated the project would cause an $80 million increase in annual rates to pay for PSO's share of the Wind Catcher infrastructure, but that the higher costs would be more than offset by federal wind production tax credits (PTC) and fuel savings.
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