- American Electric Power (AEP) estimates 51% of the utility company's 38,000 MW of generating capacity will be coal power in 2020.
- AEP previously forecasted that coal would decrease from 65% of generation in 2012 to 46% in 2020. About 6,500 MW of coal generation were expected to be retired in compliance with looming new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). AEP is expected to file updates with government and regulatory agencies revising its projections.
- AEP spokeswoman Tammy Ridout said a decrease in projected natural gas-fired generation would account for the difference between the two projections. "We'll use less gas than we had projected previously," she said. "Gas is still going to increase but not as much as we had projected. Coal generation will not fall as much as previously forecasted."
Despite EPA's efforts to the contrary, AEP believes coal will remain the dominant fuel in its generation mix. This winter's polar vortex -- and the resulting natural gas price spikes -- may have convinced AEP to revise its projections.
AEP CEO Nick Akins said last week he believes coal power "has to be part of the puzzle" in America's energy future. Akins suggested the federal government finance carbon capture and storage projects.