AEP to retire 6,000 MW to meet EPA rules

American Electric Power, the nation's largest coal-burning utility, said Thursday it plans to retire 6,000 MW of coal-fired capacity, nearly one-quarter of such facilities, to meet proposed clean-air rules from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Columbus, Ohio-based utility said it would also retrofit another 10,100 MW of coal generation and switch 1,070 MW to 932 MW worth of natural-gas capacity.


In addition, AEP said it would build 1,220 MW of gas-fired generation to reduce emissions targeted by pending EPA rules.


AEP, which currently owns about 25,000 MW of coal capacity, said its compliance plan would cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments through 2020.


The utility said it sent its compliance plan to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and to the PJM Interconnection and Southwest Power Pool for evaluation.


In addition to permanently retiring 6,000 MW of coal generation, AEP said it would idle between 1,500 to 5,200 MW of such generation for long periods of time to allow for installation of pollution control equipment. That would "abruptly cut generation capacity in the Midwest by more than 5,400 MW," AEP Chairman and CEO Michael Morris said in a statement releasing his company's compliance plan.

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more good news for NG. Question for some one with the knowledge--How much NG required to produce 1,000 MW of electric power per day?

A 1500 MW Coal Plant uses 11,000 tons of coal each day.  The chart gives an average of 20,000,000 BTU's per ton.


The chart gives around 1000 BTU's for a cubic foot of NG.  

While this is good for us as gas owners, let's not lose sight of the fact that idling coal plants is a tragedy for the country as a whole.  Our utility bills go up, the cost of operating a business goes up, more jobs and money go overseas.  Meanwhile, China is building cheap coal fired power plants all the time.  Even if global warming is real, it's a global problem.  Our jobs and our money go to China and India, and we still get the CO2 in the air over the USA. 


Coal based electricity is still a lot cheaper than natgas based electricity.  Shutting down a working coal plant plant just pours the working man's money down the drain. 

The coal plants that are being taken out of the system are old plants.  


They are inefficient and have high maintains cost, it's like:


A business has a fleet of trucks for their business and two of the trucks are 1960 models.  Yes they run, but everything is broke on them.  Every time they make a delivery, they break down and have to be hauled to the shop for repair.  It's cheaper to replace the trucks for the business rather than keeping the old ones running.  


AEP is killing two birds with one stone.  Public PR and a upgraded fleet.  

Max-- I agree good to take old high maintains dirty coal plants out of system. We can export extra coal to China

They are inefficient and have high maintains cost


I'll bet they're still cheaper and better for the electric customer than building a new natgas plant. Or even a new coal fired plant.  

Mac D-- you say better for electric customers BUT with all the people I know with allergies and asthma I don't want a dirty or so call clean coal plant in my town. You can build them in your town. I am OK with NG plant in area. Agree the  electric cost about 5% cheaper coal vs NG.  I 'll pay that--- better than 20% higher with Wind Energy cost. Nuclear slightly cheaper with old nuclear plants but doubt if see any new one in next 50+ years in future plus new nuclear plants then who know how high cost will be with all the regulation to come from the Feds

Study released:


Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AEP coal plants

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[21] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of sootheavy metalssulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[22]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from American Electric Power coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 1,127 $8.23 billion
Heart attacks 1,758 $192.0 million
Asthma attacks 17,989 $0.9 million
Hospital admissions 209 $19.37 million
Chronic bronchitis 674 $299.18 million
Asthma ER visits 996 $0.4 million


Max--- with medical back ground--- I agree with above study

meanwhile china's still opening a new coal fired plant about every 10 days or so.  granted that's down from 4-7 days from a few years ago.


i'll celebrate when i see widespread development of gas to liquids capacity for transportation fuels, i'm starting to think that's the best way to get more demand for NG

Be great until NG prices take off like petroleum prices..poor grandma's light bill going to $1000 month.. who cares so long as we get our improved royalty checks, even after the drillers cheat us owners out of most of it juggling their books, right?..what's the chance of coal prices messing with grandma's light bill without mega-government-regulations lobbied for by the NG folks?

Of course the NG folks don't think it's very funny when the Wind and Solar folks lobby the government folks to mega-regulate NG...guess that's what we get when instead of creating new markets for our energy, like NG as an alternate for transportation, we just fight over the existing market share...third world lifestyle, here we come!!!


PG-- it be decades before NG gets to that level prices. New markets for NG will be there within the next few years== Natural Gas Act helps plus export of LNG from USA-- if just will take some time.  The USA will get to third world lifestyle faster if we continue with Obama's policies of socialism. We need to put him on unemployement list-- FIRE HIM IN 2012!!!! 


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