On March 22, 2012, American Electric Power Company (“AEP”) officially notified PJM Interconnection LLC (“PJM”) and Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) of its plan to retire more than 4,600 MW of generating capacity in the their respective regions between 2012 and 2016. 

AEP, in a press release, said the retirements are primarily due to compliance concerns with recently issued Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulations.  “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,” stated Nicholas Akins, president and CEO of AEP.  GenON Energy, Inc. previously announced plans to retire more than 3,150 MW of generation due to compliance concerns of EPA regulations (see March 5, 2012 edition of the WER).

The official retirement plan differs from a June 2011 proposal in which AEP had proposed to retire approximately 6,000 MW of generation.  The difference in proposals is mainly due to AEP’s attempt to gain regulatory approval in retrofitting its 800 MW Big Sandy Unit 2 rather than retiring it.  In addition, AEP will now retire its Big Sandy Unit 1 instead of converting it to a natural gas-fired plant, as was initially proposed.

The retiring units in the PJM and SPP regions are:

  • 165 MW Conesville Plant Unit 3 
  • 278 MW Big Sandy Plant Unit 1
  • 235 MW Clinch River Plant Unit 3
  • 335 MW Glen Lyn Plant
  • 630 MW Kammer Plant
  • 400 MW Kanawha River Plant
  • 840 MW Muskingum River Plant Units 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • 100 MW Picway Plant
  • 600 MW Philip Sporn Plant
  • 495 MW Tanners Creek Plant Units 1, 2 and 3 
  • 528 MW Welsh Plant Unit 2

AEP also announced plans to install or upgrade emission control technology on more than 13,000 MW of its generating capacity.

A copy of AEP’s press release can be found here.