Story at a glance
- American Electric Power (AEP) announced its Traverse Wind Energy Center began operating on March 21, providing wind-powered energy to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
- The center marks the largest wind farm built at one time in North America.
- It’s expected to generate 3.8 million megawatt hours annually for AEP’s Oklahoma customers.
One of the largest wind farms built in North America is now up and running in Oklahoma, providing wind power to customers in the state as well as to neighboring Arkansas and Louisiana.
American Electric Power (AEP), a Columbus-based power company, announced its Traverse Wind Energy Center began operating on March 21.
The Traverse center is expected to generate 3.8 million megawatt hours annually for AEP’s Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana — saving customers an estimated $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 30 years.
The Traverse center is the largest of three wind projects of AEP’s North Central Energy Facilities, with 356 wind turbines providing 1,484 megawatts of clean energy.
AEP is one of the largest electric energy companies in the U.S, serving 5.5 million Americans across nearly a dozen states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Roughly 45 percent of AEP’s plants use coal-fueled power while natural gas represents about 28 percent and 7 percent comes from nuclear. The remaining 17 percent comes from a combination of wind, hydro, pumped storage and other sources.
“AEP is investing $8.2 billion in regulated renewables and nearly $25 billion in the transmission and distribution systems through 2026 to modernize the grid, enhance reliability and resilience and deliver more emissions-free energy to our customers,” said Nicholas K. Atkins, AEP chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.
Atkins also said AEP plans to add about 16,000 megawatts of wind and solar to their North Central region by 2030, to hit the company’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Wind power is gaining steam in the U.S., as the Biden administration announced last week that it had secured the first offshore wind energy lease sale off the coast of the Carolinas. The Interior Department projects that area could provide 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind energy — enough to power nearly 500,000 homes.
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