Community , Legal

Despite tribal opposition, Invenergy LLC eyeing Osage County for 80 wind turbines

More turbines may be dotting the Osage County horizon in the coming years.

Headquartered out of Chicago, Invenergy LLC has applied for a conditional use permit from the Osage County Board of Adjustment to construct a wind farm on 10,000 acres between Shidler and Grainola.

A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 12 at the Osage County Fairgrounds’ Agriculture Building in Pawhuska.

The proposed project, known as Silver Spoke, would have up to 80 turbines generating an estimated 158.6 megawatts of energy. A power purchase agreement is already in place with Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., for the energy generated from the proposed project.

AECI works with six regional generation and transmission cooperatives that in turn serve 51 smaller cooperatives across northeastern Oklahoma, Missouri and southern Iowa, including Indian Electric Cooperative in Cleveland, Okla., which has more than 3,400 customers in Osage County.

If approved, construction is not scheduled to start until late 2019, with the turbines coming online at the end of 2020.

In order to qualify for the Department of Energy’s Renewal Electricity Production Tax Credit, construction has to be underway before Dec. 31, 2019.

Calls to Invenergy LLC seeking comment were not returned as of press time.

Along with PSO-Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power Company, Invenergy is also a partner in the proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection, a $4.5 billion, 800-turbine farm slated to go up in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The companies’ preferred transmission line route for the project would have the line enter Osage County north of Blackburn, head southwest between Hominy and the Big Bend area, then continue straight west just north of Osage, Prue and Walnut Creek State Park before eventually running parallel to West 88th Street North and reaching a substation in Sperry. 

As of press time, no decision has been made on whether the transmission line will go north through Osage County or take a southern route through Drumright, Cushing and Bristow.

Additionally, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has not decided whether to allow one of Invenergy’s partners, PSO-Oklahoma, to raise its use rates starting in 2021 to subsidize the project’s construction.

For more information contact the Osage County Board of Adjustment at (918) 287-3980 or April Christensen, Silver Spoke Wind Energy LLC at (918) 604-3336.

 

[This article was updated March 8 to reflect a change in date of the public hearing from March 8 to April 12.]