COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 17, 2003 — American Electric Power’s (AEP) environmental performance and achievements during the past two years are the focus of a new, online summary report.
The report, “Toward Environmental Excellence,” is compiled every two years and is based on the Electric and Gas Industries survey created by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). The survey includes questions about environmental performance that are applicable to companies that generate electricity.
The 2001-2002 report is viewable at http://www.aep.com/environmental/performance/envreport.
Although previously distributed as both a printed publication and online, Toward Environmental Excellence now is published exclusively online.
The following is excerpted from the report’s Executive Summary:
“Toward Environmental Excellence” is American Electric Power’s report on its initiatives to protect and enhance the environment. This report is compiled every two years using the Electric and Gas Industries survey ( http://www.aep.com/environmental/performance/envreport/ceres.htm) created by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). Complementary detailed information on the company’s environmental activities is accessible throughout the Web site.
AEP’s environmental performance in 2001 and 2002 was characterized by its efforts to meet and exceed the internal standards defined by the company’s Environmental Tenets.
AEP works hard to achieve compliance with all environmental laws, regulations and requirements but fell short of this ambitious goal in 2001-2002. In this two-year period, the company received 74 notices of violations (NOVs) of federal or state environmental regulations and paid $92,250 in fines. Remedial actions are being taken at cited facilities, including reclaiming land at surface coal mines that accounted for 72 of the 74 NOVs. AEP purchased the mines in the fall of 2001 and inherited a legacy of mined lands that had not been properly reclaimed.
AEP also experienced negative trends in hazardous waste generation and number of reportable releases. The rise in reported releases is attributable largely to the increase in the number and types of facilities in the AEP system resulting from acquisitions in recent years. Increased hazardous waste is the result of changes in plant maintenance schedules, and waste generation will likely fluctuate over coming years. The company will continue to evaluate our operations in order to minimize risks and seek opportunities for improvement.
AEP continues to comply with the Clean Air Act and has significantly reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from our coal-fired power plants. To comply with new federal regulations requiring substantial reductions in emissions of NOx, the company has installed selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology at a number of our major coal-fired power plants, and installation is in progress at several more plants. When fully completed, AEP’s SCR program will have cost as much as $1.5 billion.
AEP strives to be an industry leader in environmental performance. As the size of AEP and demand for its energy have increased, so have emissions of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that is an unavoidable byproduct of fossil fuel combustion for power generation.
However, AEP has a long history of developing technologies and approaches to improve the efficiency of its generating units and its transmission and distribution systems. As a result of AEP’s highly efficient operation, AEP coal-fired power plants emit less carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour generated than most other plants in the industry.
Recognizing the challenge posed by global climate change, AEP has taken a number of measures beyond efficiency improvements to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.
Recently, AEP voluntarily agreed to cap and reduce or offset its greenhouse gas emissions as a founding member of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a pioneering effort to begin shaping the U.S. market for greenhouse gas reductions to address global climate change. Participation in the CCX is just the most recent example of the wide range of AEP’s voluntary activities to address emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
AEP continues to be active in environmental stewardship and education. The company has undertaken numerous projects, both domestically and abroad, to preserve and enhance the environment and to educate future decision makers about energy and environmental issues.
For instance, AEP is leading a project through the non-profit e7 group of leading global electricity companies to install wind turbines to offset diesel generation on the Galapagos Islands. AEP and its national and local partners have helped communities install over 335 kilowatts of solar power systems at more than 125 schools, including the award-winning Watts on Schools program in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Finally, AEP firmly believes that revolutionary changes in energy and environmental technologies are needed to address long-term challenges facing the company, its industry, and our society. In response, the company continues to invest in technology research, development and deployment through partnerships with government and private research institutions.
American Electric Power owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and select international markets and is the largest electricity generator in the U.S. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.