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Our carbon capture and storage (CCS) validation facility, which removes CO2  from a 20-megawatt (MW) stream of the Mountaineer Plant’s flue gas and stores it underground, has demonstrated that CCS technology works on a small scale. It has captured more than  27,000 metric tons of CO2 and stored more than 17,000 metric tons underground. This significant learning opportunity has become the basis for a larger study at the same facility, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the Clean Coal Power Initiative Round 3 program. These are critical steps toward commercializing this technology.

The legal and political landscape has changed significantly since the validation facility began operating in October 2009, and the changes affect our ability to commercialize CCS. The state of Virginia disallowed recovery of a portion of the Mountaineer carbon capture validation facility expenses, signaling a greater reluctance by regulators to pay for developing technology. We took a pre-tax write-off of approximately $54 million as a result. We received a regulatory decision from West Virginia that we are evaluating.

Without regulatory support or incentives, neither AEP nor our customers can afford the enormous expense associated with developing CCS technologies. Until regulatory policy changes or financial incentives become available, CCS technology will likely elude commercialization.

  • For more information, please see EN30 on AEP's Global Reporting Initiative G3 questionnaire.
AEP Chairman & CEO Mike Morris, left, and Zhenya Liu, CEO of State Grid Corporation of China, right, sign a technology transfer agreement in January 2011 as U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, center, looks on.

95 million metric tons of CO<sub>2</sub> reduced or offset through CCX between 2003 & 2010