American Electric Power and SWEPCO announced they would retire one of their coal-based power plants. They will also cease coal operations at two of their facilities. The decisions follow both companies’ commitments to move away from coal for electricity generation.
American Electric’s decision
On Thursday, American Electric Power announced it would retire one of its coal-fired plants in Texas. The company looks to discontinue using coal in any other of its plants in the state.
In that regard, the 580 megawatts (MW) Pirkey Plant in Hallsville will be retired by 2023. AEP also said it would stop using coal at other plants in Pittsburg with a 1,053MW capacity by 2028.
The Welsh Power Plant in Pittsburg, Texas, will stop using coal for electricity generation in 2028.
This decision continues AEP’s efforts to transition from coal to renewable energy. For instance, the company has shut several of its coal-fired plants recently, including some in Ohio.
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In the last decade, the company also retired or sold nearly 13,500 MW of coal-fueled generation.
According to Nick Akins, AEP chairman, and CEO, the retirement will enhance its projects’ economic viability and deliver cleaner power solutions to its customers.
Therefore, American Electric looks to add lower cost and cleaner resources (for instance, renewables and natural gas) to diversify its generating fleet. These decisions, in the utility’s view, will benefit both customers and the environment.
American Electric will also cease coal-based operations in two plants and retrofit another of its facilities. Therefore, SWEPCO, an Ohio-based AEP unit, will do these actions to help the company in meeting its environmental standards.
In that regard, SWEPCO announced its plans to upgrade the 258MW coal-fired Flint Creek Power Plant in Gentry, Texas.
Regarding the announcements, SWEPCO said the revision of two recent environmental regulations led the company to decide. In that sense, the utility will file its plans for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Coal Combustion Residuals rule later this month.
The Gentry plant will continue its operations until 2023, exiting its ash pond.
SWEPCO’s spokespeople said they would help their employees to address these transitions, providing them severance, educational and retraining resources. The company will also offer its people job opportunities at SWEPCO and AEP.