An aerial view of the AEP Tanners Creek
Power Plant in Lawrenceburg.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - In a move being made to comply with future Environmental Protection Agency regulations, American Electric Power will close or downsize operations at eleven plants nationwide.
The decision by one of the country’s largest energy producers -- forced by the federal Clean Air Act -- will impact the AEP Tanners Creek Power Plant in Lawrenceburg.
AEP announced Thursday it will close five coal-fired plants and reduce output at six others.
Those plants permanently closing will be:
-Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, Va.
-Kammer Plant, Moundsville, W. Va.
-Kanawha River Plant, Glasgow, W. Va.
-Phillip Sporn Plant, New Haven, W. Va.
-Picway Plant, Lockbourne, Ohio
In addition to Tanners Creek, the five other plants which will reduce their power output include:
-Big Sandy Plant, Louisa, Ky.
-Clinch River Plant, Cleveland, Va.
-Conesville Plant, Conesville, Ohio
-Muskingum River Plant, Beverly, Ohio
-Welsh Plant, Pittsburg, Texas
The Tanners Creek Plant will have three of its four generating units shut down by December 31, 2014. The plant generates about 1,000 megawatts now, but it will generate only 500 Mw when the changes are made in three years.
The Lawrenceburg facility may see its one remaining unit retrofitted and upgraded with emission reduction equipment.
"These reasonable steps taken under the Clean Air Act will reduce harmful air pollution, including mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollution, and as a result protect our families, particularly children," said Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for the EPA.
However, AEP chief executive officer, Michael G. Morris, was critical of the EPA requirements which will require the company to invest $6 billion to $8 billion to become compliant.
“We support regulations that achieve long-term environmental benefits while protecting customers, the economy and the reliability of the electric grid, but the cumulative impacts of the EPA’s current regulatory path have been vastly underestimated, particularly in Midwest states dependent on coal to fuel their economies,” said Morris in a statement.
The company said some jobs will be created by installing emissions reduction equipment on those units that will remain operating, but overall 600 jobs with wages of $40 million will be lost.
Consumers will also notice a change in their electricity bills. Coal-fired plants provide 65 percent of the power for five million residents in 11 states.
“Businesses that have benefited from reasonably priced coal-fueled power will face the impact of electricity price increases ranging from 10 percent to more than 35 percent just for compliance with these environmental rules at a time when they are still trying to recover from the economic downturn,” Morris said.
“We will continue to work through the EPA process with the hope that the agency will recognize the cumulative impact of the proposed rules and develop a more reasonable compliance schedule. We also will continue talking with lawmakers in Washington about a legislative approach that would achieve the same long-term environmental goals with less negative impact on jobs and the U.S. economy,” Morris said. “With more time and flexibility, we will get to the same level of emission reductions, but it will cost our customers less and will prevent premature job losses, extend the construction job benefits, and ensure the ongoing reliability of the electric system.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is still taking comments on the rules.
You can read the entire announcement on the plant closings and reductions at http://www.aep.com/newsroom/newsreleases/?id=1697.