AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER: AEP Receives Approval To Modify New Source Review Consent Decree

American Electric Power issued the following announcement on July 18.

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has approved a modified agreement that will accelerate emission reductions from the company's remaining coal-fueled power plants in the Midwest, eliminate a requirement to install high-cost emission reduction equipment at the company's Rockport Plant in Rockport, Indiana, and retire Rockport Plant Unit 1 (1,300 megawatts) by the end of 2028. 

The agreement is the fifth modification to a consent decree originally reached in December 2007 involving AEP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, several northeastern states, the Sierra Club and other parties. All parties agreed to this modification. The original agreement settled allegations that AEP violated new source review provisions and made major modifications to its power plants without obtaining proper permits and installing best available technology to control emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). AEP denied the allegations. No final decision on liability was issued by the Court.

As a result of this modification, AEP's Indiana Michigan Power operating unit will operate enhanced dry sorbent injection equipment on both generating units at Rockport Plant beginning in 2021 to accelerate SO2 emission reductions and achieve a plant-wide emissions rate of 10,000 tons or less a year. This change will accelerate SO2 emission cuts from Rockport by eight years. The previous agreement would have achieved the same levels of emission cuts in 2029.

Additionally, Indiana Michigan Power will operate selective catalytic reduction to reduce NOx emissions from Rockport Unit 2 by June 1, 2020. AEP will retire Rockport Unit 1 by the end of 2028.

AEP also will cut the annual SO2 emissions from its coal-fueled plants in the Midwest to 89,000 tons per year by 2029, compared with the current cap of 113,000 tons per year.  

"We invested nearly $9 billion in capital since 2000 to drastically cut emissions from our coal-fueled power plants. Today, our investments are focused on renewable generation and advanced technologies that enhance service for our customers. This shift in focus achieves ongoing emission reductions and provides the resources and services that our customers have told us they expect from their energy company," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.  

"This modified agreement greatly benefits our Indiana Michigan Power customers. It eliminates the need to spend nearly $1 billion to install flue gas desulfurization, or scrubber, equipment at Rockport Plant while still achieving emission reductions at a lower cost and sooner than previously planned," Akins said.

AEP has made significant reductions in emissions from its power plants over the last three decades. Since 1990, AEP's SO2 and NOx emissions have dropped by 96% and 92% respectively. The company's mercury emissions have been cut by 95% since 2001. AEP's carbon dioxide emissions are 59% lower than in 2000. AEP has set a goal to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% from 2000 levels by 2050.

AEP has retired more than 8,600 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled generation since 2011 and will retire another 1,100 MW by the end of 2020. The company recently added 724 MW of wind and battery generation to its contracted competitive portfolio and has proposed adding more than 9,100 MW of wind and solar generation to its regulated power plant fleet by 2030.

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP's more than 18,000 employees operate and maintain the nation's largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation's largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including nearly 5,300 megawatts of renewable generation. AEP's family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners, and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.

Original source can be found here.

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