America’s energy portfolio is rebalancing, says American Electric Power CEO Akins

American Electric Power Chairman and CEO Nicholas Akins said Thursday he sees a rebalancing of America's energy portfolio, and explained why the company is shifting its focus from coal to renewable energy sources to provide electricity to its customers.

“Coal is a large part of the portfolio, it’s changed over time because now you have other resources that are available as well,” he said. “Obviously natural gas, the shale gas activity, all the pipeline activity associated with that has been beneficial. And as well, renewables, energy efficiency, transmission. All these are different types of resources that are coming into play today that weren’t really available back when coal was king.”

Akins said the shift is, in part, due to regulations put in place by the Obama administration that made coal production more expensive, and because other energy sources, such as natural gas, have become cheaper options.

“You can build a natural gas station in two years, a coal station will take seven years if you can get it done. And then secondly, the price per KW [kilowatt] or the price to build it is about a billion per natural gas unit, but it can be upwards to five billion for a coal-fired station,” Akins said.