Appalachian Power seeks to diversify its Virginia generation mix

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) utility Appalachian Power said May 26 that it will continue to rely on coal and hydro plants in Virginia but will increasingly move toward “universal” solar and wind along with energy efficiency programs by 2030.

In all Appalachian Power is spending 2,400 MW in solar, wind and battery storage to serve Virginia customers by 2030. The utility recently announced that it was planning a 100% renewable energy option for Virginia customers.

APCO serves roughly 957,000 retail electric customers in Virginia.

Appalachian Power announced the annual filing of its integrated resource plan (IRP) in Virginia for the ensuing 15 years with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). In its West Virginia territory, the company submits a plan every five years with a 10-year outlook to the state’s Public Service Commission.

“This plan is essentially a snapshot of a process that is constantly under review based on changing market conditions, the economy, and the adoption of new products by consumers among many other variables,” said Charles Patton, Appalachian’s president and chief operating officer. “We, as a company and an industry, continue to plan and adapt to the constant change of our markets so that we can remain healthy and deliver reliable power to our customers—now and in the future—at a reasonable price.”

The 2016 IRP identifies several key components to meet its load obligations: further diversification of its mix of supply-side resources (with the addition of universal solar and wind, and natural gas generation); incorporation of additional demand-side resources; and recognition that residential and commercial customers will add distributed generation resources, primarily rooftop solar. The company’s plan:

•Adds 590 MW of universal solar by 2030;

•Adds 1,800 MW of wind energy by 2030;

•Adds 10 MW of battery storage resources in 2025;

•Implements customer and grid energy efficiency programs reducing capacity requirements by 203 MW by 2030;

•Assumes 60 MW of customer added distributed generation including rooftop solar; and

•Continues operation of existing coal and gas-fueled generating plants.

In its final order in the company’s 2015 IRP case, the SCC directed Appalachian to provide preliminary analyses of multiple potential plans that could arise from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). 

Appalachian included those analyses and possible cost impacts in this year’s filing.

The SCC scheduled a public hearing for the IRP on Nov.  2. The complete filing may be found on the SCC website: It is case PUE-2016-00050.

Appalachian Power has one million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at