Walmart signs on with Oklahoma’s Wind Catcher energy project

Source: By Dave Kovaleski, Daily Energy Insider • Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Walmart has agreed to purchase wind energy from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and its new proposed wind farm project in Oklahoma, the Wind Catcher Energy Connection.

The $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project includes acquisition of a 2,000-megawatt wind farm being built in Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It will tie into a line to the Tulsa area, where the energy will be delivered to customers there.

In its deal to provide Walmart with wind energy, PSO made additional guarantees including new reporting requirements, a lower cost cap on project construction costs, and other assurances.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Walmart, one of our valued customers, to advance the Wind Catcher project,” Stuart Solomon, PSO president and chief operating officer, said. “This agreement recognizes the tremendous benefits Wind Catcher will deliver to Walmart and all of our other customers across Oklahoma.”

The wind catcher project will be up and running in late 2020. It is expected to provide the lowest cost energy on PSO’s system. The wind energy will complement PSO’s other forms of energy, including natural gas, power purchases, and coal. With Wind Catcher, PSO customers will get about 40 percent of their energy from Oklahoma wind resources.

“Projects like Wind Catcher help Walmart meet our goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy,” Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy at Walmart, said. “As a PSO customer, we look forward to seeing this important project move forward to provide the renewable, affordable energy we need to help meet our business goals.”

Wind Catcher will add thousands of jobs and provide $60 million in state and local taxes during construction. It will provide about $300 million in property taxes and 80-90 permanent jobs.

“At PSO, we’re committed to meeting our customers’ expectations for clean, affordable, and sustainable energy sources, and Wind Catcher will provide those benefits to customers,” Solomon said. “Oklahoma is blessed with abundant, high-quality wind resources and Wind Catcher will turn that wind into low-cost energy, while also providing jobs and new revenues for schools and local governments.”

PSO and Walmart are requesting that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve the project under the new terms.