AEP’s CO2 emissions significantly decreased between 2015 and 2016, largely due to coal unit retirements; other factors included low natural gas prices, increased use of renewables and slowing load growth. AEP’s CO2 emissions were approximately 102 million metric tons in 2015 and approximately 93 million metric tons in 2016. This represents approximately a 9 percent decrease compared with 2015 and an approximate 44 percent reduction compared with our 2000 CO2 emissions of about 167 million metric tons. In 2017, we estimate our CO2 emissions will be further reduced to 56 percent below 2000 levels. This reduction includes the effects of the sale of coal and natural gas assets in early 2017.
Our resource plans do include more renewables and natural gas-fueled generation based on the expected costs, irrespective of the CPP. With the extension of federal production and investment tax credits for wind and solar, and continued price declines for renewable technologies, it makes more economic sense for our customers and lowers our carbon profile to include these resources.
AEP also reports annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project. This information is shared with investor groups, shareholders, government agencies and other public organizations. These responses provide a valuable insight into how the company assesses and manages what many consider to be important business risks.
We are often asked about third-party assurance of our emissions data. We comply with a legally-binding, rigorous verification process that we believe is sufficient. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions data is collected by emissions monitoring systems at each plant that are certified by regulators in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
These systems are also subject to quality assurance and quality control procedures as specified by the EPA. The quality-assurance tests for monitoring systems include daily calibration tests, quarterly assessments of data trends, and periodic relative accuracy test audits that compare the monitored values to actual stack testing data. A responsible corporate official must certify the accuracy of all required monitoring data submitted to the EPA and state regulators.
Learn More About Resource Planning at AEP