American Electric Power, the parent company of Southwest Electric Power Co., said recently (Sept. 10) that it is cutting carbon dioxide emissions faster than anticipated and has revised its previous 2030 reduction target from 60% to 70% from 2000 levels. The Columbus, Ohio-based utility giant also said it is confident that it will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 80% from 2000 levels by 2050.
“AEP’s overall strategy is focused on modernizing the power grid, expanding renewable energy resources and delivering reliable energy to our customers. Our transition to a cleaner, more balanced resource mix helps mitigate risk for our customers and shareholders alike and will ensure a more resilient and reliable energy system into the future,” said AEP Chairman and CEO Nicholas Akins.
“We’ve made significant progress in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our power generation fleet and expect our emissions to continue to decline,” Akins continued. “Our aspirational emissions goal is zero emissions by 2050. 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 said it will achieve future carbon dioxide emissions reductions through a variety of actions including investments in renewable generation, investments in transmission and distribution technologies to enhance efficiency, and expanded demand response and energy efficiency programs. AEP’s resource plans include adding more than 8,600 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar generation to serve the company’s regulated utility customers by 2030.
The company currently is seeking regulatory approval to add 1,485 megawatts of new wind generation to serve customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, and has already added 1,302 megawatts of contracted renewables to its portfolio this year. Between 2019 and 2023, the SWEPCO parent plans to invest approximately $2.2 billion in contracted renewables and renewables integrated with energy storage.
To enhance the efficiency and resiliency of the energy delivery system, AEP’s long-term strategy includes plans to invest approximately $25 billion over the next 5 years in its transmission and distribution systems. AEP said it has also factored future carbon regulations into the company’s evaluation of generation resource options for many years ahead. The company already has cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 59% since 2000, officials said.
Since 2005, AEP’s generation capacity has gone from 70% coal-fueled in 2005 to only 45% today. Its natural gas capacity increased from 19% in 2005 to 28% today and its renewable generation capacity has climbed from 4% to 15% over the past 15 years. To learn more about AEP update clean energy strategy, click here.