SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), is now generating energy at its first Michiana-area solar power plant, doubling the company’s solar capacity.
The Twin Branch Solar Power Plant went online today following a thorough testing and commissioning process. The facility is generating up to 2.6 megawatts of electricity, and its generation is expected to power the equivalent of about 365 homes annually.
“I&M is very proud to enhance the South Bend area with yet another form of carbon-emission free energy,” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “Adding energy from the Twin Branch Solar plant to our area distribution system is another step toward boosting I&M’s use of renewables.”
The Twin Branch plant is located just east of Mishawaka, in an industrial area north of the AM General factory.
Twin Branch is the second of four I&M solar power plants plant to generate energy. The 2.5-megawatt Deer Creek plant just outside Marion, Ind., went online late in 2015. Construction is ongoing at two additional Michiana solar plants – near New Carlisle, Ind., and Watervliet, Mich., which will begin generating solar energy later in 2016. Combined, the four solar plants will have a capacity of nearly 15 megawatts and produce enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually.
The four plants are part of I&M’s Clean Energy Solar Pilot Project. “We know our customers want more renewable energy, and this pilot project will be a strong foundation as we plan more large-scale solar power plants,” Chodak said.
In addition to solar, I&M’s generation portfolio also includes nuclear, hydro, coal and, through power purchase agreements, wind. About 60 percent of the energy generated by I&M in 2015 came from non-carbon-emitting sources.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 589,000 customers. It operates 2,600 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,160 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 450 MW of purchased wind generation and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million customers through 223,000 miles of distribution lines in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.