July 18, 2019
AEP Receives Approval to Modify New Source Review Consent Decree
Modification will accelerate emission reductions and eliminate a requirement to install expensive emission reduction equipment at Rockport Plant
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 18, 2019 – 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.
This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: changes in economic conditions, electric market demand and demographic patterns in AEP service territories; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability or cost of capital to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms and drought conditions, and AEP’s ability to recover significant storm restoration costs; the cost of fuel and its transportation, the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters and the cost of storing and disposing of used fuel, including coal ash and spent nuclear fuel; availability of necessary generating capacity, the performance of AEP’s generating plants and the availability of fuel; AEP’s ability to recover fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire renewable generation, transmission lines and facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including oversight of nuclear generation, energy commodity trading and new or heightened requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances that could impact the continued operation, cost recovery, and/or profitability of AEP’s generation plants and related assets; evolving public perception of the risks associated with fuels used before, during and after the generation of electricity, including nuclear fuel; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions, including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance; resolution of litigation; AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; prices and demand for power generated and sold at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to energy storage and new, developing, alternative or distributed sources of generation; AEP’s ability to recover through rates any remaining unrecovered investment in generating units that may be retired before the end of their previously projected useful lives; volatility and changes in markets for capacity and electricity, coal, and other energy-related commodities, particularly changes in the price of natural gas; changes in utility regulation and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including ERCOT, PJM and SPP; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of AEP debt; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, other postretirement benefit plans, captive insurance entity and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact of such volatility on future funding requirements; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes, naturally occurring and human caused fires, cyber security threats and other catastrophic events.
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