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Appalachian Power updates its annual clean energy plan

March 16, 2023

ROANOKE, Va. – Clean energy projects that deliver affordable, reliable power while creating jobs and tax base are integral parts of Appalachian Power’s plan to meet its renewable energy obligations in Virginia. The information is included in the company’s annual update filed this week to comply with the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).

The VCEA is a law that requires the company provide its 542,000 Virginia customers with carbon-free energy by 2050. With its passage, Appalachian Power must file a yearly update with the Virginia State Corporation Commission detailing how it intends to meet key clean-energy targets. This is the company’s third update since the VCEA was signed into law in 2020.

Appalachian Power plans to meet its obligation with a combination of investments in solar, wind, energy storage, and the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Included in this year’s plan is a request to purchase an Ohio-domiciled wind facility upon final construction. The project has the potential of generating 143 megawatts (MW) of energy for customers. The company also seeks regulatory approval to purchase the energy output from developers of seven solar facilities for a total of 204 MW of energy. About half, or 104 MW, would be produced from facilities located in Virginia.

An energy storage project that would benefit customers in Washington, Smyth and Grayson counties in southwest Virginia is another part of the company’s plan to meet its clean energy requirements. The proposal consists of two battery energy systems connected to the company’s Glade-Whitetop distribution circuit. With regulatory approval, the nearly eight MW project would improve service reliability by locating a temporary power source closer to customers served on the latter half of the circuit. This part of the circuit traverses a mountain range making access to these facilities difficult for repairs during outage situations.

Appalachian Power President and Chief Operating Office Aaron Walker said the plan filed with regulators is cost efficient, reduces the company’s exposure to volatile energy prices, and will enable the company to meet the requirements of the VCEA. “Customers count on us to deliver a safe, affordable product to power their daily lives, homes and businesses. The plan presented to the commission provides reliable, clean energy for our customers as well as the added benefit of jobs and tax base for the communities where these projects are sited.”

Appalachian Power’s filing also updated regulators on projects that received SCC approval in 2022. Developers and the company terminated plans to move forward with the Bedington, Firefly, Dogwood, and Sun Ridge solar facilities due to development, permitting and/or cost-related issues. While disappointing, the loss of these facilities will not hinder the company’s ability to meet its VCEA obligations.  

The company is currently recovering VCEA-related costs approved by the commission in 2021 and 2022. The company’s 2023 plan presented to regulators would lower the kilowatt hour charge for electricity due, in part, to the loss of these four projects. Under the company’s proposal, the monthly bill for a residential customer would decrease 58 cents per 1,000 kilowatt hours used.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.6 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 6,900 megawatts of renewable energy.

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