Little Rock – The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association and several members have registered their support for Wind Catcher Energy Connection, SWEPCO’s Oklahoma-based wind farm that will deliver low-cost wind energy and economic benefits to Arkansas.
In comments filed with the Arkansas Public Service Commission last month, AAEA executive director Katie Laning Niebaum writes, “As the business voice for advanced energy in Arkansas, [AAEA] is dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy and workforce through the expanded utilization of advanced energy technologies that make our energy supply more secure, clean and affordable. Wind Catcher Energy Connection aligns with this mission in its delivery of low-cost wind energy and economic benefits for Arkansas.”
The University of Arkansas and the City of Fayetteville, both AAEA members, also have expressed support for the project in comments to the Commission and in a recent joint press release.
In a statement, Mike Johnson, the University’s associate vice chancellor for facilities, said “we expect [Wind Catcher] to provide significant economic benefits to SWEPCO customers and the region, as well as help both the U of A and Fayetteville meet their goals to reduce carbon emissions. We’re happy to join other regional supporters who share this goal, including Walmart and the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association.”
The University of Arkansas is seeking to achieve carbon neutrality for all of its operations by 2040. The City of Fayetteville’s recently adopted Energy Action Plan, the first in the state, includes the goals of achieving 100 percent clean energy for local government operations by 2030, and 100 percent community-wide clean energy by 2050.
“The Wind Catcher Project helps the City of Fayetteville take a huge step towards our 100 percent clean energy goals and reducing carbon emissions,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “Fayetteville is committed to working with leaders of other cities, states, universities, and businesses to combat climate change by supporting a low-carbon economy and creating good jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
In an opinion piece, AAEA member Terry Tremwel, founder of Trem Wel Energy, calls Wind Catcher a “win-win-win opportunity that will be good for families, good for employers, and good for a stable climate.”
Niebaum notes in AAEA’s comments to the Commission that key components of the wind farm will be manufactured in Arkansas, supporting hundreds of direct jobs at LM Wind Power and indirect jobs tied to the larger supply chain.
Jacqueline Highsmith, director of LM’s Little Rock facility, writes in a recent editorial that Arkansas “can’t afford is to pass up on a once-in-a-lifetime economic partnership that will support good jobs, help keep and attract businesses committed to the fast growing renewable-energy sector, and bring affordable power to its hardworking citizens.”
Wind Catcher is subject to pending approvals by the Arkansas Public Service Commission and its counterparts in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. Learn more at SWEPCO’s site.