A balanced and reliable energy future
Our energy security as a nation depends on using multiple sources of energy. A diverse fuel mix is an insurance policy in the event that changing conditions or economic circumstances make any given fuel source impractical or impossible.
We project that our fuel generating capacity will shift from 60 percent coal and 23 percent natural gas in 2013, to 46 percent coal and 33 percent natural gas by 2020. The remainder of our resource needs will be filled by renewable energy, nuclear, hydroelectric and pumped storage, and energy efficiency and demand response programs. Although demand response and energy efficiency capacity does not represent a physical asset, it does represent avoided capacity.
The 600-MW John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant in southwestern Arkansas exemplifies our commitment to the responsible use of coal as a fuel source.
National electricity consumption is predicted to grow at an annual average rate of 0.7 percent between 2011 and 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release Overview. Socioeconomic and market factors as well as additional energy efficiency rules, such as new appliance and building efficiency standards, may slow the growth of energy consumption somewhat. Despite these forces, energy demand is expected to continue its modest growth rate for the foreseeable future.
As we seek to balance our fuel mix, we are looking at resources in a different light. In addition to traditional fuels such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power, we also see transmission, smart grid and energy efficiency as vital parts of our resource mix. This will ultimately drive us to using less coal. Although coal is challenged by regulations, it remains an important resource to ensure a reliable, secure energy future. Through the development of shale gas, the growth of renewable energy, the advancement of smart grid technologies and the development of transmission, we now have new and broader resource opportunities.
Our decision to build the 600-megawatt (MW) John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant in southwestern Arkansas exemplifies our continued commitment to the responsible use of coal as a fuel source. The Turk Plant is the first coal-fired plant AEP has built in more than two decades and represents the future of coal-based technology that we continue to advance. The Turk Plant is the only operating U.S. power plant to use ultra-supercritical technology and is among the nation’s cleanest, most efficient pulverized coal plants. Turk began commercial operation in December 2012 after a variety of regulatory and legal challenges were resolved and was officially dedicated in April 2013.
SWEPCo owns 73 percent of the plant’s capacity and operates the facility; its share of the construction cost was $1.3 billion of the plant’s $1.8 billion cost. Co-owners are Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., 12 percent for its 490,000 members; East Texas Electric Cooperative, 8 percent for its 178,000 customers; and Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, 7 percent, serving 39 municipal electric systems in the state.
In addition to providing energy reliability and fuel diversity to the region, the plant created 109 new, permanent jobs with an estimated annual payroll of $9 million. The plant is estimated to provide an additional $6 million in annual school and property tax revenues in southwest Arkansas. At the peak of construction of the Turk Plant, which began in November 2008, the project provided up to 2,200 construction jobs.
What is ultra-supercritical technology? America’s Power explains its use and benefits in a short video series.