COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 1, 2012 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) has begun commercial operation of the Dresden natural gas-fired power plant, a nominal 580-megawatt combined-cycle generating unit. The plant, located near Dresden, Ohio, provides 25 permanent jobs and employed more than 800 workers at the peak of construction.
With the start-up of the Dresden plant, AEP has added more than 4,800 megawatts of natural gas-fired capacity to its generating fleet in the past decade. Natural gas accounts for 24 percent of AEP’s total generating capacity.
“This is another step in the transformation of AEP’s generating fleet as we continue to diversify our fuel mix to improve our environmental footprint and provide economical electricity for our customers,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP’s president and chief executive officer. “Natural gas will become an increasing part of AEP’s generating portfolio in the coming decades as a result of the development of shale gas reserves and new environmental regulations, but we continue to believe our company and our nation need a diverse electricity generating portfolio that also includes investment in cleaner coal technologies, nuclear and renewable power.”
AEP purchased the partially constructed Dresden plant in 2007 for approximately $85 million from Dresden Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Dominion. AEP accelerated construction of Dresden in January 2011. Total costs for the plant were approximately $366 million.
The Dresden plant will supply electricity to AEP’s Appalachian Power customers in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as 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’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.