COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Electric Power has signed on as a corporate sponsor of The Pickens Plan, the energy independence plan proposed by oil and gas industry veteran T. Boone Pickens.
The Pickens Plan calls for reducing dependence on foreign oil, expanded use of renewable energy, a new 21st-century power grid, increased conservation and efficiency initiatives, and a program to shift heavy-duty fleet vehicles to domestic fuels to offset foreign oil, diesel and gasoline use.
The Pickens Plan proposes to generate up to 22 percent of the nation's electricity from wind and supports development of an extra-high voltage transmission system to facilitate that expanded use of renewable electricity generation. Extra-high voltage transmission is necessary to transport renewable energy from where it is most viable to the nation's population centers.
"For years, AEP has been the most vocal advocate for development of an extra-high voltage transmission superhighway that will efficiently transport electricity to support economic development and energy security, and The Pickens Plan clearly supports that vision," said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We can't significantly develop renewable energy resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and introduce competition for liquid transportation fuels without a well-designed, reliable national transmission grid.
"Boone Pickens has invested considerable time and resources developing and building support for a plan that will help the United States reduce its dependence on foreign energy and promote economic growth. We're pleased to support Boone and join the more than 1.5 million Americans who have joined the Pickens Army and believe that our nation needs a plan to tap our domestic energy resources, reduce use of foreign oil and improve the environment. We also will ask our approximately 22,000 employees to consider lending their individual support to this effort," Morris said.
"I am thrilled that AEP is supporting the Pickens Plan. AEP has always been a leader in the electric power industry, and their involvement in our campaign underscores a commitment to energy independence and the transformation of our grid into a state-of-the-art network that can truly manage our renewable resources into the future," Pickens said. "AEP is one of the growing number of for-profit and non-profit organizations that have embraced our plan. With the support of companies like AEP and our Army of 1.5 million members, we can move forward on our plan to bring natural gas into the transportation cycle for heavy duty trucks, which will significantly reduce our economically devastating dependence on foreign oil. Natural gas is the bridge fuel we can use until sophisticated electric vehicles are ready for consumer use," he said.
In 2006, AEP first proposed development of a national extra-high voltage transmission system, modeled after the interstate highway system, to more efficiently transport electricity, support development of renewable energy resources and enhance energy independence and national security. The company has proposed more than 2,600 miles of 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission projects to enhance the transmission grid, including a 1,000-mile transmission project that would link the wind-rich Upper Midwest with the population-rich East Coast.
"If we want to do more than pay lip service to using renewable resources for electricity generation in the United States, we have to put in place a federal plan for an extra-high voltage transmission superhighway to move renewable energy from where it is most abundant and viable to population and electricity load centers," Morris said. "To rapidly develop transmission to support our renewable goals, we need federal oversight for siting and widespread cost allocation for these long-distance, extra-high voltage transmission projects. Without mechanisms to support faster deployment of a very efficient interstate transmission system, we won't be able to achieve renewable electricity generation at 20 to 30 percent levels."
In addition to investment in renewables and the transmission grid, The Pickens Plan proposes developing alternative fuel vehicles, such as natural gas-powered trucks and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), to reduce the nation's use of imported oil. AEP already is working with automakers and other utilities to study the performance of PHEVs and the effect of their widespread use on the nation's electricity grid. AEP also is testing the use of PHEVs in its own vehicle fleet to learn more about their performance. Auto manufacturers have announced that they will begin introducing PHEVs in 2010.
Unveiled July 8, 2008, by T. Boone Pickens, the Pickens Plan is a detailed solution for ending the United States' growing dependence on foreign oil. Earlier this year, when oil prices reached $140/barrel, America was spending about $700 billion for foreign oil, equaling the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. That figure has decreased some while oil prices have retreated, but the U.S. is still dependent on foreign nations for nearly 70 percent of its oil, representing a continuing national economic and national security threat. The plan calls for investing in power generation from domestic renewable resources such as wind and using our abundant supplies of natural gas as a transportation fuel, replacing more than one-third of our imported oil. More than 1.5 million people have joined the Pickens Army through the website www.pickensplan.com , which has had over 14 million hits. For more information on the Pickens Plan, visit their website.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP's transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
SOURCE: American Electric Power