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AEP, Sierra Club reach deal on profit guarantees

December 15, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Columbus-based electric utility and an environmental group have agreed on a proposal that would lead to what are believed to be the largest investments in wind and solar power in Ohio to date.

The Sierra Club is dropping opposition to an eight-year profit guarantee for selected coal-fired power plants in exchange for several provisions, The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1IRuVIe) reported Tuesday.

Under the pact, American Electric Power agreed to develop 500 megawatts of wind energy and 400 megawatts of solar energy. The utility also agreed to close two of its coal-fired plants or convert them to run on natural gas by 2029 or 2030.

The proposal also has the support of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff and consumer groups.

The deal still has to be approved by the state regulator’s governing board.

The utility proposed a profit guarantee in December 2013, saying volatile rates were due to the unstable electricity market. Opponents said the plan was a bailout of unclean power plants.

After a state regulator rejected the utility’s initial plan, the company submitted a new proposal in May that included a 10-year profit guarantee, which has since been reduced to eight years.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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