AEP bows to BigWind. Higher electric rates coming to Ohio!

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Big news is an announcement by AEP (Ohio) that it intends to develop 900 MW of renewable energy over the next five years as part of a settlement agreement with environmental activists like the Sierra Club and others if the PUCO approves their plan. Of the 900 MW, AEP plans to develop 500 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar. The solar energy is to be developed in Ohio’s Appalachian region. The Columbus Dispatch reports that “The case will go to the PUCO’s five-member governing board, which can accept, reject or modify the terms, and likely will issue a ruling in the next few months. Dynegy and others have said they will challenge the plan in court if it gets approved by the PUCO. If approved, AEP says it will begin the process of soliciting bids for the wind and solar projects within 45 days. The company will select a slate of projects and then submit them for review by the PUCO, with the goal of obtaining the go-ahead by January 2017 and breaking ground in 2018. The projects would be paid for by charges in customer bills, the amounts of which are not yet known.” Will PUCO approve it? YES. Remember, we like to call them the Say Yes to BigWind board…

So we are back to the Production Tax Credit and whether it gets extended long enough for AEP to grab a bunch of taxpayer dollars to build 500 MW of wind while driving up the cost of electricity in Ohio. But there is movement in the background for those who really do want to attack climate change and that is nuclear energy. The thought of it makes many environmentalists crazy (crazier) but we think it is going to happen. Will it be soon enough?….

GAHANNA, Ohio, Dec. 14, 2015 – AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) filed today with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a stipulated agreement in support of the company’s expanded Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). The agreement will be signed or unopposed by 11 parties, including the PUCO staff, Sierra Club, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Hospital Association, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, as well as three competitive retail energy suppliers.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement on a comprehensive plan that helps ensure more stable electricity prices for Ohio consumers and promotes a reliable and diverse generation supply to support the Ohio economy,” said Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer….