SHREVEPORT, La., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), today began commercial operation of the new 600-megawatt (MW) John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant near Fulton, Ark., in Hempstead County.
Turk, the first ultra-supercritical generating unit to go into operation in the U.S., generates electricity more efficiently at higher temperatures, requires less coal and produces fewer emissions to generate the same amount of power as existing coal units.
"The Turk Plant is yet another example of AEP's long history of advancing coal-fueled generating technologies. AEP built our nation's first supercritical coal-fueled power plants decades ago. At Turk, we've deployed ultra-supercritical generating technology, and built one of the nation's cleanest, most efficient pulverized coal generating plants," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and chief executive officer. "Turk will provide reliable, affordable power for our customers and project partners and will provide significant benefits for the area's economy. I commend our employees and the business and community partners who helped make Turk happen."
SWEPCO owns 73 percent (440 MW) of the $1.8 billion, Turk Plant. Co-owners are Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), 12 percent for its 490,000 members; East Texas Electric Cooperative (ETEC), 8 percent for its 178,000 customers; and Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA), 7 percent, serving 39 municipal electric systems in the state."This is a milestone addition of very efficient generation during SWEPCO's 100 th anniversary to help meet the growing energy needs of all SWEPCO customers, and we heartily thank our many supporters of the project these last six years," said Venita McCellon-Allen, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. "We are so proud of the Turk Plant because it demonstrates our commitment and ability to meet stringent environmental standards set by federal and state regulatory agencies." Construction of the Turk Plant began in November 2008, and the project provided up to 2,200 construction jobs at the peak of employment in May 2011. The plant will have 109 permanent positions and an estimated annual payroll of $9 million. Turk will provide an additional $6 million in annual school and county property tax revenues in Southwest Arkansas. The plant will serve SWEPCO retail and wholesale customers in Louisiana and Texas, as well as the ETEC customers. In Arkansas the plant will serve SWEPCO's wholesale customers – the cities of Hope, Bentonville and Prescott – and the AECC members. OMPA customers in Oklahoma also will benefit from the power produced at the Turk Plant. SWEPCO's balanced approach to new generation, announced in 2006, includes both coal and natural gas plants to support generation fuel diversity. The coal-fueled Turk Plant is a base-load facility designed to meet customers' need for power that is consistently available 24/7. SWEPCO also added peaking generation to its fleet through the 300-MW natural gas-fueled Harry D. Mattison Power Plant in Northwest Arkansas, which came on line in 2007; and intermediate generation from the 508-MW combined-cycle natural gas-fueled J. Lamar Stall Unit at Arsenal Hill in Shreveport, La., which came on line in 2010. The Turk Plant is located on about 3,000 acres between Fulton and McNab, Ark. Tim Gross is the plant manager. Fuel for the plant is low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. The new facility is named for John W. Turk, Jr., who was president and chief executive officer of SWEPCO from 1983-1988. A Texas native and graduate of the University of Texas, Turk worked for SWEPCO for 39 years. He passed away in 2009. SWEPCO serves more than 524,000 customers in three states, including 114,000 in western Arkansas, 228,000 in northwest and central Louisiana, and 182,000 in East and North Texas. SWEPCO's headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com. 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 and north Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. News releases and other information about AEP can be found at www.aep.com. This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: the economic climate and growth in, or contraction within, AEP's service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability of capital on reasonable terms and developments impairing AEP's ability to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt at attractive rates; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms, and AEP's ability to recover significant storm restoration costs through applicable rate mechanisms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of necessary generating capacity and the performance of AEP's generating plants; AEP's ability to recover Indiana Michigan Power's Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 restoration costs through warranty, insurance and the regulatory process; AEP's ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP's ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP's ability to build or acquire generating capacity, including the Turk Plant, and transmission line facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs (including the costs of projects that are cancelled) through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances or additional regulation of flyash and similar combustion products that could impact the continued operation and cost recovery of AEP's plants; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including AEP's dispute with Bank of America); AEP's ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; AEP's ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas, coal, nuclear fuel and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the implementation of electric security plans and related regulation in Ohio and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including PJM and SPP; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP's pension, other postretirement benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact on future funding requirements; prices and demand for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events. SOURCE American Electric Power