Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced Wednesday the power line route for its Wind Catcher Energy Connection project.

Wind Catcher Energy Connection, a joint effort between PSO and Southwestern Electric Power Co., is a $4.5 billion project that involves building a wind farm in Oklahoma, a 350-mile power line and two substations.

The wind farm, to be built on 300,000 acres in Cimarron and Texas counties in the Panhandle, will include about 800 2.5 MW wind turbines. A power line will stretch from there to Tulsa, bringing 2,000 megawatts of energy to customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma, in addition to parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

After considering various alignments and study segments, the power line route follows a more “northerly route among the line routes considered,” according to the company. The power line route currently has three areas where additional public input is sought before portions of the route are finalized.

Two of those areas on the power line route are in Northwest Oklahoma, one north of Woodward and the other north of Enid. The third study segment is located east of Pawnee.

During fall last year, PSO held 11 open houses across Oklahoma to collect input from various communities. One of the open houses was held in Enid in mid-October.

“At PSO we are committed to working with landowners and the community to bring the benefits of Wind Catcher to customers,” said John Harper, PSO vice-president of external affairs. “In addition to bringing customers some of the lowest-cost power available, the communities along the line route will see approximately $300 million in additional property taxes over the next 25 years.”

However, some Oklahoma residents are concerned about the power line, citing concerns such as sinkholes.

The company though, will begin working with landowners along the three portions of the line route needing additional study this month in open houses scheduled in Enid, Woodward and Pawnee.

Enid’s open house will be Jan. 31 in the Central National Bank Center Grand Ballroom, 301 S. Independence. Woodward’s will be Jan. 30 at Woodward Fairgrounds in Exhibit Hall B, 108 Temple Houston Drive.

The open houses will be set up in a workshop format, where attendees can talk with project team members, review detailed maps and provide input, according to the company. Electrical planners, engineers, routing experts, right-of-way agents and construction representatives will be present to answer questions from attendees, who can come and go since there will be no formal presentation.

Development of the power line route began last summer, and the overall project is expected to deliver wind energy to customers by the end of 2020, according to the company.

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Story by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  Ryan Miller