Prospects for AEP's $4.5B Wind Catcher project look iffy

|By:, SA News Editor

American Electric Power's (AEP +0.7%) Southwestern Electric Power subsidiary is preparing additional information to present to the Public Utility Commission of Texas in a bid to win regulatory approval for its $4.5B investment in the proposed Wind Catcher wind farm project, reports.

The 2K MW project has come under scrutiny this week as Texas PUC regulators questioned placing such a large investment on ratepayers, particularly with the inclusion of a $1.6B transmission line to move the energy from the wind farm.

PUCT Chairman DeAnn Walker says she cannot approve the project in its current form, as the transmission line is "the game changer, the big difference."

The project, which is being developed by Invenergy, has been approved by regulators in Arkansas and Louisiana but still must be approved by Texas and Oklahoma PUCs as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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