As one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity, AEP recognized more than a decade ago that the emissions of its coal-fueled fleet of power plants, including GHG emissions, would have a significant impact on the future of the company. Rather than waiting for regulators to create and enforce mandatory GHG reporting, AEP took a proactive approach so the company could demonstrate its leadership as an environmental steward and be an active participant during GHG discussions.
AEP was already using the Enviance System to assure compliance and to document the environmental obligations for its generation fleet. Because of their success with the System and its reporting flexibility, it was a natural extension to include the company’s voluntary GHG programs.
The Enviance System allows AEP to enter data only once, and use it for multiple reporting requirements across a wide range of compliance programs, including:
- Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)
- EPA’s Climate Leaders
- Title V in multiple states
- Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)
- State Emission Inventories
AEP has linked their Enviance System to key emissions and fuel databases, including the company’s Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems, Opacity Monitoring Systems, DOE's Climate Challenge, EEI Power Partners, BRT Climate RESOLVE, and AEP’s custom application for fuel management. Although still under development, the integrated system and its task management and calendaring functions will allow AEP to monitor, report, and analyze emissions, including CO2 emissions, from its 36 plants.
AEP will be using the Enviance System to track all GHG emissions data – from as far back as 1990. Having that data in one centrally managed, online database gives AEP a valuable resource. Real data – not just estimations. It would be difficult and time-consuming to track such a large amount of data on paper records and spreadsheets.
In 2003, AEP was the first and largest U.S. utility to join the Chicago Climate Exchange. CCX is the world’s first legally binding GHG emissions reduction and trading program. As a founding member of CCX, AEP committed to gradually reduce, avoid, or sequester its GHG emissions by 6 percent below the average of its 1998 to 2001 emissions levels by 2010. Already, from 2003 – 2006, AEP has achieved approximately 39.2 million metric tons of GHG reductions.
By preparing for a time when carbon may somehow be constrained, through taxing, trading, or other means, AEP is managing the challenge head-on. The flexibility of the Enviance System allows the company to enter data once and use it for multiple reporting requirements, including all voluntary GHG programs, TRI, and emissions inventories.
As part of EPA's Climate Leaders Program, AEP must document and implement an Inventory Maintenance Plan (IMP). Using EPA's IMP checklist as regulatory citations within the Enviance System, AEP has linked requirements that fully describe their IMP through custom fields and defined tasks that assure implementation. Now AEP can simply print out the requirement descriptions and submit it to EPA as their IMP.
“We've built a living management plan right into our compliance tool,” said the Senior Engineer of Environmental Services.