Renewables, Wind

AEP Renewable unit acquires majority stake in Invenergy Texas wind farm

American Electric Power’s renewables subsidiary has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in a Texas wind farm which has long-term power purchase deals involving major corporate partners.

AEP Renewables bought 75 percent, or 227 MW of the Santa Rita East Wind Project from developer Invenergy. The developer will retain a 25-percent ownership in the project.

Like Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy, Ohio-based AEP is increasingly engaging in outright ownership of utility-scale wind projects. 

“AEP’s long-term strategy, driven by the expectations of our customers and technology advances, includes diversifying our power plant portfolio with clean, renewable generation,” AEP CEO Nicholas Akins said in a statement. “This acquisition increases our contracted renewable generation portfolio to 1,302 MW. We’ve targeted approximately $2.2 billion in capital investment in our contracted renewables business by 2023, and combined with our purchase of wind, solar and battery assets in April, we have achieved nearly 70 percent of our contracted renewables investment goal.”

Long-term virtual power purchase agreements are guaranteed on the business end of the Santa Rita East wind power generation. Grupo Bimbo, Merck and Novartis have all signed long-term VPPAs.

Earlier this month, AEP units Louisiana-based Southwestern Electric Power Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma announced they are seeking regulatory approval to acquire three wind projects in western Oklahoma. The projects, totaling nearly 1,500 MW of capacity, are all being developed by Invenergy.

The projects include a 999-MW wind facility being built north of Weatherford, a 287-MW wind facility being built southwest of Enid, and a 199-MW facility being built south of Alva. The Alva project is projected to be completed by the end of next year, while the other two are due to go online by late 2021.

Altogether, these acquisitions would cost nearly $2 billion, according to the release. In the long run, though, AEP says the investment would save SWEPCO and PSO customers about $3 billion over 30 years.

In April, another division, AEP Clean Energy Resources, completed its $1.05 billion acquisition of Sempra’s renewables unit. This included 724 MW of operating wind generation and energy storage.