AEP begins commercial operation of 580 MW gas fired plant

American Electric Power (AEP) has commenced commercial operation of the Dresden natural gas-fired power plant in the US state of Ohio.

The 580 MW combined-cycle generating unit near Dresden will supply electricity to the company's Appalachian Power customers in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

AEP acquired the partially constructed Dresden power plant in 2007 for about $85m from Dresden Energy, a unit of Dominion.

Construction of the power was accelerated by the company in January 2011 and total costs for the facility were about $366m.

AEP president and CEO Nicholas Akins said natural gas will become an increasing part of AEP's generating portfolio in the coming decades as a result of the development of shale gas reserves and new environmental regulations.

"But we continue to believe our company and our nation need a diverse electricity generating portfolio that also includes investment in cleaner coal technologies, nuclear and renewable power," Akins said.

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