AEP will spend $4-5 billion retrofitting coal plants to burn natural gas

Ohio-based American Electric Power announced last week that in an effort to “make its remaining coal plants compliant with current and proposed federal regulations,” the company will spend between $4 billion and $5 billion over the next seven years to move its generating fleet “away from coal toward cleaner burning natural gas,” Reuters reports. AEP, described here as “the nation’s biggest coal generator,” said that it is now economical to retire “over 5,400 MW of coal generation by 2016” and to possibly convert as much as “1,800 MW of coal units to gas” since gas prices reached the $3.25 per mmBtu breakpoint. The company estimates that its generating capacity from coal-fired plants will drop from its current 65 percent to about 50 percent by 2020, the article said. 

National, Ohio