Power Plant Emissions
At this time, we expect to retire approximately 5,500 MW of generation by the end of 2016. In addition, we plan to either install or upgrade emissions control systems, or complete natural gas conversions, on nearly 11,000 MW of capacity between now and 2020. In 2012, we retired approximately 615 MW of coal generation. We estimate the total cost of meeting current, pending and proposed environmental requirements at $4 billion to $5 billion from 2012 through 2020 – on top of the $7 billion spent on compliance since 1990. This does not include the cost to operate and maintain the units once the controls are installed, or future costs of building additional replacement generation and incremental fuel cost increases.
A number of factors have contributed to significant reductions in AEP's SO2, NOx and mercury emissions. Since 1990, SO2 and NOx emissions have each been reduced by about 80 percent while mercury emissions have declined by nearly 60 percent since 2001. Among the factors that led to decreased emissions include the installation of controls, such as scrubbers and SCRs, on coal units that also remove mercury; the installation of activated carbon injection at the Rockport Plant in Indiana, specifically to reduce mercury; changes in the types of coal we used during that time; retirement of coal units; and, reduced overall generation from coal plants due to economic conditions and low natural gas prices. Mercury emissions information is reported to the EPA under the Toxics Release Inventory program.