What AEP is Doing About Releases
The fact is, using one kilowatt-hour of electricity — leaving one 100-watt light bulb on for 10 hours — burns about one pound of coal. In a year, a typical AEP residential customer with electric heat consumes about 18,000 kilowatt-hours, or about 18,000 pounds of coal.
Releases to air and water are an unavoidable consequence of burning coal. Through the years, we have made investments to reduce various chemical emissions and waste streams. The AEP system uses many technologies that control or eliminate certain types of water, air and solid waste pollution from its coal-fired, natural gas-fired, oil-fired power plants, coal mining facilities, nuclear plants and other operations.
The industry and government are working together to develop new technologies that will burn coal more efficiently to produce less pollution or waste. AEP is finding ways to lower its use of electricity and encouraging customers to use electricity wisely, too. Typically, as the demand for electricity continues to rise and more electricity is generated to meet demand, TRI numbers should rise as well. However, as a result of emission control retrofits and improvements in overall efficiency of fossil fuel units, reductions in AEP's TRI air emissions are anticipated. Coal will continue to be the major source of electricity generation in the Midwest for the foreseeable future.
To keep emissions low while we produce the affordable, reliable supply of electricity our customers demand, we will continue to support research to find more efficient, cleaner ways to burn coal and use other fuel sources that make economic sense.