AEP to spend $15B to build 8 GW of wind, solar
- American Electric Power (AEP) will focus on boosting its renewable portfolio over the next two decades, laying out in its most recent Corporate Accountability Report plans for more than 8,000 MW of renewable energy alongside 3,000 MW of gas-fired generation.
- The utility is currently building four solar plants in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and just last year completed its first solar plant in Indiana.
- Coal makes up 50% of its portfolio, but AEP said it is retiring more than 7,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation between 2011 and the middle of this year.
American Electric Power is known for its reliance on coal, and just a decade ago, received about 70% of its energy from that source. But the utility has trimmed that figure down to about half, and in its 2016 Corporate Accountability Report, said it was focused on "efforts to continue diversifying its generation fleet."
"We are changing our business to accommodate local generation of clean energy, optimize power flows and connect diverse resources to the power grid," Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas Akins wrote in a letter accompanying the report. He said that by 2034, the utility's integrated resource plans call for adding approximately 3,400 MW of solar, 6,300 MW of wind and 3,000 MW of natural gas.
Those figures include 900 MW of solar and wind in an AEP Ohio power purchase agreement settlement.
"Our vision is to deliver an energy future built on diverse energy resources and an interactive power grid that is more reliable and secure, with technologies that enhance access and services for all customers," Akins said.
The utility has also decreased its carbon dioxide emissions by almost 40% from 2000 levels and said it intends to continue to reduce emissions from its power plants as it transitions to more renewables and natural gas.
The company announced a planned capital investment of $5 billion annually for the next three years, primarily in its core operations. The investment includes its transmission business, which AEP said will support the nation’s changing energy mix and make the grid more resilient and flexible.
"A resilient, flexible grid is critical to support power generation resource diversity including expanded renewable generation, energy storage and demand-side technologies," the company said. The 2016 report is AEP’s tenth year of reporting on its sustainability performance.
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