American Electric Power has received more than a dozen bids from companies offering to construct wind farms under long-term power purchase agreements, spokeswoman Jeri Matheney said.
“We’re very pleased with the response that we got, and the variety,” Matheney said. “We got quite a few bids – more than a dozen – from several states.
“It will take at least a few weeks to pore through and analyze all of them,” she said. “Then we’ll go from there in making our decision.”
The deadline for bids was originally April 30 but was extended to May 1 “to give people the whole weekend” to work on proposals, Matheney said.
The utility hopes to select winning bidders soon, she said. Matheney declined to be more specific about a timeline. However, the company has said its goal is to add 1,000 megawatts of new wind energy by 2011 as part of its strategy to address greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has said it expects much of the new wind power will be generated in the eastern United States.
Last month, the company issued two requests for proposals – the first step toward adding new wind energy.
One request was for up to 260 megawatts of wind energy for its Appalachian Power utility.
The other request was for up to 100 megawatts for its Indiana Michigan Power utility.
American Electric’s Appalachian Power subsidiary provides electricity to more than 900,000 customers in southern West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.
Matheney would not say whether any of the bids the company received propose building wind farms in West Virginia. She did say the wind power does not have to be generated in territory served by the company.
If approved by regulators, the wind power purchases would mark American Electric Power’s first commercial use of wind energy in the seven eastern states it serves.
It is unclear how an effort to add wind energy would be received in West Virginia, where coal has traditionally been king. Almost all of the power the company now generates in the state comes from coal-fired plants.
Wind energy is controversial in the state. A proposed wind farm in Greenbrier County is currently on hold pending a decision by the state Supreme Court.
West Virginia has only one wind farm – the 44-tower, 66-megawatt Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in Tucker County.
Many others have been proposed but only one additional project, NedPower’s 82-tower, 164-megawatt farm on Mount Storm, is under construction.
American Electric Power owns two wind farms in Texas with a total capacity of 310 megawatts and has long-term contracts to purchase 467 megawatts of output from wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas owned by others.
AEP had revenues of $1.6 billion last year. The Columbus, Ohio-based utility has more than 5 million customers in 11 states and has 20,400 employees.
by George Hohmann
Daily Mail business editor
8 May 2007
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