Nuclear, Hydro & Other Resources
Nuclear power and hydroelectric power remain important resources in our energy portfolio. AEP’s 2,191-MW Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Mich., provides low-cost, emissions-free electricity to I&M customers. Cook’s two units produce enough energy to power approximately 1.5 million homes and represent 40 percent of I&M’s power generation portfolio. In 2005, the plant received license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission permitting the units to run an additional 20 years beyond the duration of their original operating licenses – until 2034 and 2037, respectively.
AEP operates 17 hydroelectric and pumped storage projects in five states.
In 2013, utility commissions in Michigan and Indiana granted I&M approval of its Life Cycle Management Project, enabling the plant to make necessary investments to continue operating effectively during the plant’s license extensions.
Hydroelectric power is another source of cost-effective energy. AEP operates 17 hydroelectric and pumped storage projects in five states. These projects produce approximately 800 MW of generation without directly producing CO2 emissions.
Although energy efficiency and demand response are not physical assets, we incorporate them in our integrated resource planning because they serve as important resources in meeting our system’s energy and capacity needs. These programs have received regulatory support for cost recovery in most of the states we serve, and this is necessary to enable sustainable demand response and energy efficiency programs going forward. For AEP, appropriate cost recovery includes reimbursement of program costs, consideration of net lost revenues and an opportunity to earn a reasonable return. This regulatory treatment ensures that these programs are appropriately considered along with supply-side investments, such as power plants.
New Diving Technology
The need for underwater inspections of our hydroelectric facilities led us to technology that is out of this world – literally. Cutting-edge, space-age technology was recently tested at AEP’s Smith Mountain Dam in Roanoke, Va., while a yearly inspection of the facility was conducted. Underwater inspections are usually done by traditional divers. This state-of-the-art hard suit advances the safety of underwater diving equipment by providing 48 hours of on-board life support equipment and eliminating the need for decompression when divers resurface.