AEP Brings Gas-Powered Plant Online

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American Electric Power's corporate headquarters in downtown Columbus.(Photo: Marada (Flickr))
American Electric Power's corporate headquarters in downtown Columbus.(Photo: Marada (Flickr))

American Electric Power of Columbus has fired up a new electric generating plant in Eastern Ohio. Company officials say the start-up of the Dresden plant is part of a larger plan to use less coal.

AEP generates most of its electricity by burning coal. But, spokeswoman Melissa McHenry says the newest ppwer plant will use natural gas and steam. The power company is changing its fuel mix to include more natural gas after stricter federal anti-pollution rules were announced.

“Partly due to the pending EPA regs and the need to retire coal-fired generation. Also, because of the shale gas discoveries and more availability of gas,” McHenry says.

The Dresden plant will add enough power to supply 480-thousand residential customers each month. AEP bought the partially constructed plant in 2007. McHenry says the company sped construction in the wake of new gas discoveries. ‘

“So, the shale gas discoveries in the United States and the ability to access that gas have really changed the long term profile for natural gas in the U-S so that’s part of the reason why we again accelerated construction of the plant.”

The Dresden plant began producing power earlier this month. It employs 25 permanent workers.

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