SWEPCO seeks Arkansas approval for new solar project

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Press Release

SHREVEPORT, La., Feb. 1, 2022 – Southwestern Electric Power Co., an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, today announced plans to add 72.5 megawatts (MW) of solar energy by Dec. 1, 2024, through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rocking R Solar, LLC (Rocking R), an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI). The proposal supports SWEPCO’s long-term plan of increasing its use of more clean energy sources, such as solar and wind.  

In the filing submitted Friday, Jan. 28, SWEPCO seeks approval of the proposal from the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC). The proposal is also subject to review by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Regulatory filings in Texas will be made at a later date.

The project – named Rocking R Solar Facility – will be located approximately 20 miles north of Shreveport, La.

“The combination of more efficient and affordable renewable facilities and impending generation asset retirements have allowed SWEPCO to accelerate the transition to clean energy our customers and stakeholders have long desired,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer.

“Solar energy from this facility will help SWEPCO’s customers meet their own renewable energy and sustainability goals, and it will make communities more competitive for economic development,” Smoak said.

“The fixed price supply of solar energy, which is unaffected by fluctuations in fuel prices, is a significant benefit to SWEPCO customers,” said Smoak. “Rocking R will provide SWEPCO customers with reasonably priced renewable energy and savings compared to other generation and supply options over the length of the power purchase agreement.”

Customers also will have the option to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Revenue from the REC sales will offset fuel costs for all SWEPCO customers.

The Rocking R Solar Facility is owned by DESRI, who will continue to develop, construct and operate the facility. Through this PPA contract with DESRI, SWEPCO has agreed to purchase power at a fixed rate for 20 years, with an option to purchase the facility after 10 years. SunChase Power, LLC initiated development of the project. The project’s 72.5 MW is enough to power approximately 12,000 homes for a year.

“Our DESRI team is pleased to partner with SWEPCO to deliver cost-effective clean power to their customers across Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas,” said Hy Martin, chief development officer of DESRI. “This solar project will deliver economic development benefits to Caddo Parish and the surrounding communities for years to come.”

SWEPCO’s renewable energy portfolio includes 810 MW of wind energy from the North Central Energy Facilities and 469 MW of wind energy under PPAs. Two of the North Central facilities began commercial operation in 2021, and the third is expected to begin commercial operation in early 2022.

On June 28, 2021, SWEPCO issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for up to 300 MW of solar resources and up to 3,000 MW of wind resources. SWEPCO expects to file for regulatory approvals in the second quarter of 2022 for resources selected from the RFPs.

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