It is challenging to practice environmental stewardship while providing electricity at affordable rates. AEP is meeting this challenge in several ways. For example, efforts are under way to implement vegetation management practices on our transmission rights-of-way to encourage wildlife, while at the same time, meeting all North American Electric Reliability Corporation requirements.
Concerns about endangered or threatened species continue to grow nationally. As we seek to build new infrastructure, such as transmission facilities or renewable generation across our service territory, we are mindful of potential environmental and ecological impacts we might have. In several cases we are developing long-term habitat conservation plans to protect endangered or threatened species while reducing time constraints for meeting project deadlines. Working with organizations such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service helps us understand the issues, support habitat preservation and take appropriate voluntary actions to mitigate our impacts.
The Indiana bat and Northern Long-Eared bat are two species AEP is mindful of protecting. The Indiana bat has been federally listed as endangered since 1967 and the Northern Long-Eared bat was federally listed as threatened in 2015. The Indiana bat is resident in nine of the 11 states in which AEP operates. Likewise, the Northern Long-Eared bat is found in 10 of the 11 states in which AEP operates. In some areas, tree cutting during certain times of the year must take into consideration potential effects on the habitat of both species. Since these bats roost and raise their young in trees with certain characteristics, all trees with these potential characteristics must be evaluated prior to clearing.
AEP provides information about how we manage these and other issues through our participation in business and environmental disclosure surveys, such as the Global Reporting Initiative.
Conservation and Stewardship
Photo of brown thrashers at AEP's Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s Flint Creek Power Plant. Flint Creek received a 2015 Pollinator Advocate Award from the Wildlife Habitat Council for it's environmental education and stewardship program.
We continue to seek opportunities to integrate conservation measures into our management approach to rights-of-way (ROW) for new and rebuilt transmission lines. This involves addressing key ecological concerns while maintaining reliable transmission service. Working with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), we developed a range of conservation options for ROW land management. The toolkit gives AEP options to incorporate environmentally beneficial conservation practices into our ROW management efforts that are economical and protect reliability as we rebuild old lines and build new ones.
AEP is a member of the WHC and has a long history of partnering with them on on a variety of projects, primarily involving our power plants. Southwestern Electric Power Company’s Flint Creek Power Plant received a 2015 Pollinator Advocate Award from the WHC. Pollinators include bees, birds, bats and other insects and animals that spread pollen so plant fertilization can occur. Flint Creek also was recognized for recertification under WHC’s Corporate Lands for Learning program. Flint Creek has held certification under the program since 2004 and under WHC’s Wildlife at Work program since 2002. The two programs are being combined into WHC’s new Conservation Certification, and Flint Creek will be certified from 2016 through 2018. AEP’s Real Estate Asset Management group also works with the WHC to enhance our ReCreation Lands – approximately 60,000 acres in southeast Ohio of reclaimed mine land.