COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 4, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — American Electric Power is being recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2005 Climate Protection Award for demonstrating ingenuity, leadership and public purpose in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
AEP’s Chairman, President and CEO Michael G. Morris will accept the award in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the company.
“We are very proud that our long-term efforts to serve as a leader in our industry on this issue are being recognized by the U.S. EPA,” Morris said. “AEP has been quietly but actively engaged in the debate about how to successfully address global climate change since the early 1990s, and we have developed and implemented a broad portfolio of actions to reduce, avoid or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.”
U.S. EPA began the Climate Protection Awards program in 1998 to recognize outstanding efforts to protect the earth’s climate. Including this year’s recipients, 112 Climate Protection awards have been presented to forward- thinking companies, individuals and organizations from 16 countries, according to Kathleen Hogan, director, U.S. EPA Climate Protection Partnership Division. “EPA applauds the accomplishments of AEP and the other companies and individuals who are receiving Climate Protection Awards this year. They have made important contributions toward a more sustainable future and show what leadership and ingenuity can do in helping protect our global environment,” Hogan said.
AEP is the first and largest U.S. utility to join the Chicago Climate Exchange and make a commitment to reduce, avoid or sequester a cumulative 10 percent of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions between 2003 and 2006. Through this commitment, AEP will reduce or offset approximately 16 million metric tons (or 18 million U.S. tons) of greenhouse gas emissions over four years.
Additionally, AEP has significantly reduced emissions of SF6, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, from 1999 levels of 19,778 pounds (a leakage rate of 10 percent) to 2004 emissions of 1,962 pounds (a leakage rate of 0.5 percent).
To reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the global atmosphere, AEP has invested nearly $24 million in terrestrial sequestration projects designed to conserve and reforest sensitive areas and offset more than 20 million metric tons of CO2 over the next 40 years. These projects, totaling more than 52,000 acres, include protecting nearly 4 million acres of threatened rainforest in Bolivia, restoring and protecting 20,000 acres of degraded or deforested tropical Atlantic rainforest in Brazil, reforesting nearly 10,000 acres of the Mississippi River Valley in Louisiana with bottomland hardwoods and planting trees on 23,000 acres of company-owned land.
Going forward, AEP is focused on developing and deploying new technology that will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of future coal-based power generation. The company announced in August 2004 its plans to build the largest commercial-scale Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant in the United States by the end of the decade. Through its gasification technology, this plant will emit much less CO2 than a traditional coal-fired plant and will be designed to easily accommodate retrofit of technology to capture CO2 emissions. AEP also is part of a consortium proposing to build “FutureGen,” a $1-billion research project in conjunction with the Department of Energy that will build the world’s first nearly emission-free plant to produce electricity and hydrogen from coal while capturing and storing CO2 in geologic formations.
The company’s Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, W.Va., is the site of a $4.2-million carbon sequestration research project through which scientists from Battelle Memorial Institute are seeking to obtain the data required to better understand the capability of deep saline aquifers for storage of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
AEP also strongly supports increased renewable energy sources to help meet our nation’s energy needs. AEP is one of the larger generators and distributors of wind energy in the United States, operating 311 megawatts (MW) of wind generation in Texas and distributing an additional 373.5 of wind generation from wind facilities in Oklahoma and Texas. AEP operates 884 MW of hydro and pumped-storage generation. AEP also developed significant experience in co-firing biomass in 4,000 MW of coal-fired generation that the company formerly owned in the United Kingdom and at a small coal-fired plant in the United States.
About AEP [ www.aep.com ]
American Electric Power owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and is the nation’s largest electricity generator. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.