AEP increases carbon reduction goal in long-term plan

American Electric Power reported Tuesday that its plant to cut carbon emissions utility-wide is accelerating faster than expected and will revise its 2030 goal by another 10 percent.

The Columbus, Ohio-based utility holding giant plans reduce its carbon dioxide footprint 70 percent below 2000 levels in another 11 years. The previously announced goal was a 60-percent reduction by 2030.

“We’ve made significant progress in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our power generation fleet and expect our emissions to continue to decline,” AEP CEO Nicholas Akins said in a statement. “Technological advances, including energy storage, will determine how quickly we can achieve zero emissions while continuing to provide reliable, affordable power for customers,” Akins said.

AEP’s release indicated renewed confidence in previously announced plans to cut CO2 emissions 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050, although Akins said the company wants to go even deeper. “Our aspirational emissions goal is zero emissions by 2050,” he added.

The utility plans to add 8,600 MW of new wind and solar generation to serve its regulated utility customers by 2030. Among those plans includes nearly $2 billion worth of investment in three utility-scale wind projects in Oklahoma.

All of those Oklahoma projects are being developed by Invenergy, with the utility acquiring the output.  AEP also plans to invest $13 billion in more efficient transmission and distribution systems over the next three years, with further plans to add gas generation and expand demand response and energy efficiency programs.

AEP still generates 47 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power, but has trimmed that from 70 percent only 14 years ago. The utility hopes to cut its coal-fired portion to 33 percent of the overall mix by adding wind, solar, hydro and pumped storage.

American Electric Power is the parent company of AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power, Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, AEP Texas, Southwestern Electric Power Co. and Indiana Michigan Power. The regulated utilities reach more than five million customers.

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Southwestern Electric Power Co. (Louisiana) will be one of the panelists in a panel session about onshore wind power at POWERGEN International, happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. The session will be part of the Wind and Solar Knowledge Hub on the exhibition floor.

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