SWEPCO (Southwestern Electric Power Co.) has has signed long-term purchase agreements of renewable energy from wind projects in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, required as part of the settlement the utility reached with the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society and Audubon Arkansas to end the suit over SWEPCO's Turk coal power plant in Southwest Arkansas.
SWEPCO will purchase a total of 400 megawatts of wind energy. Glenn Hooks of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign said it's "exciting stuff for us to have a coal-heavy utility like AEP/SWEPCO putting hundreds of wind megawatts into its energy mix."
A statement from the Sierra Club:
"The clean energy revolution is happening right now. Today, as a result of our recent legal settlement, hundreds of megawatts of clean wind energy will power homes and businesses in our region for the next 20 to 25 years. Unlike dirty coal, which devastates our air, water, and communities, wind power produces zero pollution.
"Unlike our neighboring states, Arkansas currently does not have wind energy production in place, although we are home to multiple factories that produce wind turbines and blades. If we did have wind energy production in place, SWEPCO could buy it from an Arkansas company. Instead, that money to purchase wind power went to out-of-state companies and jobs. As Governor Beebe works toward drafting the state's energy plan, Sierra Club calls on him to aggressively pursue clean, renewable sources of energy for the Natural State.
"In his State of the Union speech, President Obama didn't mention coal a single time but spent a lot of time talking about clean energy. Coal is on its way out. Clean, renewable energy projects—like those announced today—are the key to our nation's energy future."
Read more about the settlement in the Business Journals here.