Wind and solar energy accounted for over 10% of U.S. power generation for the first time in March 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This follows a record year in 2016 for clean energy development as more than half of new generation sources brought online last year were renewables (U.S. Energy Information Administration). The trend is going to continue at a rapid pace; the EIA predicts nearly 70 GW of new wind and solar capacity will be added by 2021.
As costs for solar and wind energy have decreased significantly in the past several years, an increasing number of large commercial and industrial customers are seeking renewable energy options from us. These companies are as committed to sustainability as we are, and have business goals that include increasing their use of renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a sustainable supply chain.
AEP has options today, and is developing innovative future solutions, to help companies achieve these goals and, most importantly, empower them to manage their energy use and costs. We are aggressively moving from a historically coal-heavy generation mix to a balanced, reliable and cost-effective resource portfolio. Our current integrated resource plans (IRP) show that through 2030, the vast majority of our resources will encompass renewables and energy efficiency.
In addition to our standard generation mix, in many states we offer special customer programs for the purchase renewable energy (RECs). Beyond our standard offerings, we can also customize a renewable delivery plan specific to your needs.
While some companies choose to build and operate their own on-site renewable resource, many have discovered that using their utility partner as their supplier can have several advantages. We bring a low cost of capital and the ability to buy and maintain affordable renewable energy in bulk that is attractive to customers, and we have the expertise to manage the development and construction of these projects.
In AEP’s regulated and competitive operations, we have expanded our investments and experience with renewables technologies. We currently have 51 renewables projects in operation, generating 3,255.5 MW of electricity, and an additional 10 projects and 141.6 MW under construction. Over the next 10 years, we plan to add an additional 6,000 MW of renewable generation through the development of new wind and solar projects and new power purchase agreements.
In addition to renewables, we are also focused on innovating other technologies like battery storage and microgrids. As every business’s needs are unique, I encourage customers and those interested in locating in our 11-state region to talk to our team at AEP about your energy goals. In many cases, once we better understand your needs, we can work with our regulators to develop effective solutions that take advantage of evolving energy technology that can help your business be more successful.