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Industry News

AEP Plans to Retire 585-MW Coal-Fired Unit In Ohio

LCG, July 12, 2013--American Electric Power (AEP) announced yesterday that it plans to retire its 585-MW coal-fired Muskingum River Plant Unit 5 in 2015. In March 2012, AEP announced its intent to retire Muskingum River Units 1-4 (840 MW) in 2015.

In February 2013, AEP reached an agreement with other parties to modify the company's 2007 New Source Review Consent Decree so as to provide AEP the option to retire Muskingum River Unit 5 or refuel it with natural gas. According to AEP, given the cost of compliance with environmental regulations and current market conditions, AEP has determined that it is unlikely to make the capital investment to refuel the unit.

The Muskingum River Plant, located in Beverly, Ohio, was commissioned in 1953. Unit 5 has already been retrofitted with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to control NOx emissions.

AEP previously announced the planned retirement of 2,538 MW of coal-fueled generation owned by AEP Ohio in Ohio and West Virginia by the end of 2015. The addition of Muskingum River Unit 5 brings AEP Ohio's total retirements to 3,123 MW. The remaining 10,725 MW of AEP Ohio-owned generation (including 2,427 MW slated to be transferred to Appalachian Power and Kentucky Power following state regulatory approvals) will consist mostly of low-emitting, fully controlled coal-fueled plants, natural gas-fueled combined cycle and combustion turbines, and a small hydro plant.

In AEP's March 2012 announcement, AEP stated the decision to retire the units was primarily to comply with a series of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. At that time, AEP stated, "We continue to have serious concerns about the potential impact these plant retirements - and retirements of generation announced by other utilities - will have on the reliability of the electricity grid."

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