Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.
|Type||Public (NYSE: AES)|
|Headquarters||4300 Wilson Blvd., 11th Fl.
Arlington, VA 22203
|Area served||U.S.: IN
Int'l: Brazil, Ukraine, El Salvador, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Dominican Republic
|Key people||Paul Hanrahan, CEO|
|Industry||Electric Producer and Utility|
|Revenue||$13.59 (FY 2007)|
|Net income||Loss of $95 million|
|Subsidiaries||Indianapolis Power & Light
The AES Corporation is a publicly owned global power company that operates in 27 countries. According to their website, AES' mission is "Improving lives by providing safe, reliable and sustainable energy solutions in every market AES serves." Founded in 1981, AES Corporation is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
In 2011, AES Corporation reported $17,274,000,000 in total revenue.
Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."
This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.
|About Fix the Debt|
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.
AES and Corporate Social Responsibility
In June 2009, SOMO (the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations) published a research report that investigated, among other things, AES’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and practices. The report concluded that “[AES] seems to be less motivated by CSR concerns or issues than by the hard business imperative of profit”. 
AES is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.
In May 2007, Forbes listed AES CEO Paul Hanrahan as receiving $10.3 million in total compensation for the previous fiscal year, with a four-year total compensation of $16.85 million. He ranked 9th on the list of CEOs in the Utilities industry, and 170th out of all CEOs in the United States.
Out of its total 13,122 MW of U.S. electric generating capacity (1.23% of the U.S. total), AES gets 52.2% from natural gas, 41.2% from coal, 3.3% from oil, 2.6% from wind, and 0.6% from wood. AES has power plants in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming - as well as in 28 countries around the world.
New York power plants
In 1999, AES purchased six power plants in New York (including the Somerset station) from NGE Generation, Inc. for $953 million. The other stations included in the deal were AES Westover, AES Cayuga, AES Greenidge, AES Hickling, and AES Jennison, for a total of 1,424 megawatts of generating capacity.
AES to sell its New York plants
On Feb. 28, 2011, AES president and CEO Paul Hanrahan announced that the company had decided to sell four of its coal-fired power plants in New York. The four coal-fired facilities, which have a combined generating capacity of 1,169-megawatts, are owned and operated by AES subsidiary AES Eastern Energy and are located in Somerset, Westover, Greenidge and Cayuga, New York. AES outlined in its fourth-quarter report that its subsidiary AES Eastern Energy recorded an impairment charge of $827 million, due primarily to a decline in power prices relative to rising coal costs in the North American market. Jeff Bodington, CEO of Bodington & CO, a power plant sales consultancy, has said that AES could earn $500-600 million for the plants based on comparable sales.
A Buffalo Business article attributed the sale to the combination of declining demand since the 2007 U.S. recession, the 90 percent rise in U.S. coal prices since 1998, implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the declining price and rising use of natural gas. In 2010, Niagara County officials reduced AES tax payments by nearly 10 percent, reducing AES's tax obligation by $4.5 million through 2013. Still, AES executives, in the bankruptcy filing, said operating losses at the New York coal plants was $83 million in 2010.
In 2007, AES worked with Dow Chemical Co., Citi Sustainable Development Investments, and Suncor Energy, Inc. to put together a $100 million investment for GreatPoint Energy, a coal gasification company based in Cambridge, MA.  The investment was used to create a pilot gasification plant called the Mayflower Clean Energy Center, located at Dominion's Brayton Point station in Somerset, Massachusetts. This was the largest "green tech" investment of 2007, and "one of the industry's biggest venture capital rounds ever."
Existing coal-fired power plants
|Plant Name||State||County||Year(s) Built||Capacity||2007 CO2 Emissions||2006 SO2 Emissions|
|Petersburg||IN||Pike||1967, 1969, 1977, 1986||1873 MW||12,500,000 tons||28,985 tons|
|Harding Street||IN||Marion||1958, 1961, 1973||698 MW||3,966,000 tons||46,346 tons|
|Somerset||NY||Niagara||1984||655 MW||5,395,000 tons||2,573 tons|
|Shady Point||OK||Leflore||1990||350 MW||2,576,000 tons||N/A|
|Cayuga||NY||Tompkins||1955||323 MW||2,278,000 tons||4,360 tons|
|Eagle Valley||IN||Morgan||1951, 1953, 1956||302 MW||1,494,000 tons||N/A|
|Warrior Run||MD||Allegany||1999||229 MW||1,629,000 tons||N/A|
|Thames||CT||New London||1989||214 MW||1,713,000 tons||N/A|
|Hawaii||HI||Oahu||1992||203 MW||1,634,000 tons||921 tons|
|Greenidge||NY||Yates||1950, 1953||163 MW||926,000 tons||8,560 tons|
|Westover||NY||Broome||1943, 1951||119 MW||805,000 tons||9,968 tons|
|Beaver Valley||PA||Beaver||1987||114 MW||1,434,000 tons||N/A|
In 2005, these coal-fired power plants emitted 36.4 million tons of CO2 (0.6% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and at least 102,000 tons of SO2 (0.7% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).
AES abandons proposed Oklahoma plant
On February 17, 2009, AES announced that it had withdrawn its air permit application for a new 650MW unit at its Shady Point facility. Company spokesman Lindy Kiger explained the decision to cancel the project as "part of our broader strategy to re-evaluate our growth plans."
Proposed plant retirements
On February 1, 2011, AES Thames Generation Plant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the state of Delaware, calling the shutdown temporary. AES Thames cited the increased cost of energy production and an "uneconomic and onerous" contract with Smurfit-Stone's predecessor. Smurfit-Stone sought a temporary restraining order and injunction to prevent the closing, which were to be heard by the New London Superior Court on Feb. 2, but AES Thames filed for bankruptcy the day before.
The plant ceased operating after the bankruptcy. In December 2011, Thames and was sold to a subsidiary of BTU Solutions, based in Sugar Land, Texas. BTU plans to close and dismantle the plant, and lay off its workers by December 28, 2011.
In March 2011 the AES Westover retired its Unit 8 power station in March 2011. Additionally, AES announced it wanted to sell four of its New York coal plants, including Westover. The other plants included AES Cayuga, AES Greenidge and AES Somerset. 
Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination
In August 2010, a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," reported that Connecticut had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash. The report identified 39 more coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal sites in 21 states that have contaminated groundwater or surface water with toxic metals and other pollutants, including Thames, based on monitoring data and other information available in state agency files. The report built on an earlier 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites", which documented similar damage at 31 coal combustion waste dumpsites in 14 states. When added to the 67 damage cases that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has already acknowledged, the total number of sites polluted by coal ash or coal scrubber sludge comes to at least 137 in 34 states.
"In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment" found that the coal ash site for the AES Thames Generation Plant contained iron up to 1000 times the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), and arsenic up to 26 times. Documents suggest there are over 300 wells within two miles of the plant.
Elementary students protest AES Shady Point fly ash
Residents of Bokoshe, Oklahoma claim that a coal ash waste site run by a company called Making Money Having Fun located in the town is causing health problems among local residents. School children voiced their concerns by organizing a letter drive to send to their congressperson. "When I found out that nine kids out of seventeen in my sixth grade [class] that had asthma, I knew there was a problem," said Bokoshe teacher Diane Reece.
In December 2010, students at Bokoshe Elementary in Oklahoma teamed up to ask AES to stop dumping fly ash from its AES Shady Point Generation Plant near their homes. The students believe that the coal ash has caused more than half their class of 17 kids to develop asthma. The AES Shady Point power plant sits just east of Bokoshe, a town of 450 residents. About a mile from its main street, a 50 foot wall of fly ash waste has piled up over the last eight years. The fly ash is dumped at a location owned and operated by Making Money Having Fun, LLC. Residents say the ash blows over to their town and covers everything. AES insists that the fly ash is safe and the company has taken steps to better contain the fly ash during transport to the dump site. But Bokoshe residents say they have reason to believe differently: "We feel like it's a hot spot for cancer and respiratory ailments,” resident Tim Tanksley told 5NEWS.
Other residents claim that cancer in the area is higher than other parts of Oklahoma due to the location of the coal ash site, debris of which blows around the community when winds pick up.
The fly ash is carried by truck to Bokoshe from a nearby AES Shady Point Generation Plant coal-fired power plant.
A Making Money and Having Fun spokesperson denied that fly ash was toxic, stating, "We have an outstanding environmental record over the past 20 years," AES spokesman Lundy Kiger told members of the media in a meeting at their Shady Point plant.
In December 2010 Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Dan Boren, after being prompted by AES, are being kept updated on the issue and have stated that something needs to be done about the site. However, residents were concerned that AES was calling in a favor to the public officials, both of whom have received campaign funds from AES. Both of whom oppose federal regulation of the substance. AES donated $5,000 to Senator Inofe in the past eight years.
"I understand that Senator Inhofe once said that global warming is the greatest hoax ever pulled on the American people," said Tim Tanksley, a Bokoshe resident. "The biggest hoax ever pulled on the people of Bokoshe, Oklahoma, is telling them that this mountain of fly ash is temporary and will disappear."
High hazard coal ash dam
In November 2011, the EPA released a new set of coal waste data that revealed 181 “significant” hazard dams in 18 states - more than three times the 60 significant-hazard ponds listed in the original database released in 2009. In addition to the increase in the number of significant hazard-rated ponds, eight previously unrated coal ash ponds were found to be high hazard ponds in information released by the EPA earlier in 2011. Because of the switch in ratings after the EPA inspections, the total number of high hazard ponds has stayed roughly the same at a total of 47 ponds nationwide.
According to the National Inventory of Dams (NID) criteria, “high” hazard coal ash ponds are categorized as such because their failure will likely cause loss of human life. Six states that gained high hazard ponds include:
- Indiana: AES's Harding Street Station, Indianapolis: 2 high hazard ponds
International coal power plants
- the 520 megawatt Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 51 megawatt Aixi Power Station in China which was built in 1998. AES has a 71% interest in the project;
- the 250 megawatt Jiaozuo Power Station in China which was built in 1997. AES has a 70% interest in the project;
- the 250 megawatt Wuhu Power Station in China which was built in 1996. AES has a 25% interest in the project;
- the 2,100 megawatt Yangcheng Power Station in China which was built in 2001. AES has a 25% interest in the project;
- the 420 megawatt OPGC Power Station in India which was built in 1998. AES has a 49% interest in the project;
- the 50 megawatt Bohemia Power Station in the Czech Republic which was built in 2001. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 96 megawatt Borsod Power Station in Hungary which was built in 1996. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 116 megawatt Tiszapalkonya Power Station in Hungary which was built in 1996. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 301 megawatt Sogrinsk CHP Power Station in Kazakhstan which was built in 1997. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 1,354 megawatt Ust - Kamenogorsk CHP Power Station in Kazakhstan which was built in 1997. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 270 megawatt Ust - Kamenogorsk Heat Nets Power Station in Kazakhstan which was built in 1997. AES has a 100% interest in the project;
- the 675 megawatt San Nicolás Power Station in Argentina which was built in 1993. AES has a 96% interest in the project;
- the 807 megawatt Gener - Centrogener Power Station in Chile which was built in 2000. AES has a 91% interest in the project;
- the 304 megawatt Gener - Guacolda Power Station in Chile which was built in 2000. AES has a 46% interest in the project;
- the 277 megawatt Gener - Norgener Power Station in Chile which was built in 2000. AES has a 91% interest in the project;
- the 433 megawatt Itabo Power Station in Dominican Republic which was built in 2000. AES has a 48% interest in the project.
AES in Argentina
Argentina’s electricity regulator has fined AES for this lack of investment and even forced the company to invest in new electricity poles. AES has now pledged to invest in electricity sub-stations and the distribution network, but only after reaching an agreement with the Argentine government following the latter’s initiation of legal proceedings against the company. (For further information see AES in Argentina).
Puerto Rico and Coal Ash
In April 2010 the AP reported activist efforts against AES's selling of coal ash containing lead, arsenic and mercury to developers using it for residential and transportation projects, particularly within Puerto Rico. Several municipalities are considering moratoriums on such projects following complaints from residents, and scientists say the government should start testing air and water for possible contamination. Allan Dyer, president for AES Puerto Rico, denied the ash is contaminated. He said the ash product, Agremax, that is sold by AES as filler material for construction projects, has been thoroughly tested and complies with local and federal regulations. Pedro Nieves, president of Puerto Rico's Environmental Quality Board, said the use of coal ash for such projects is authorized because federal studies have shown that heavy metal levels are within safety standards. But he said the agency is collecting information and might issue a new round of studies if needed.
Coal ash is the byproduct from burning coal in coal plants. It contains large quantities of toxic metals, including mercury, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and selenium, which can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular health problems through inhalation, and has been known to leach into groundwater, contaminating drinking water. As of April 2010, coal ash is not federally regulated in the U.S., and is used in products, such as construction fill, dry wall, and concrete.
In December 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delayed a decision on whether to propose reclassifying coal ash as hazardous, which would limit where it could be sent for disposal. The issue was raised with the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill in Tennessee, when 5.4 million cubic yards of the ash spilled in 2008, creating one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in U.S. history. Nieves said he is monitoring the debate and might change his stance if the EPA issues new regulations.
It is the second time in recent years that AES has faced concerns from environmentalists and government. In 2007, the company agreed to pay $6 million to clean up industrial waste in the Dominican Republic, whose government filed a lawsuit alleging AES dumped 82,000 tons of coal ash along several beaches, which the lawsuit claimed was shipped from the AES plant in Puerto Rico.
As of September 2012, a group of Puerto Rican citizens said they would take AES to federal court for illegally dumping waste Guayama coal-fired power plant. Attorney Ruth Santiago sent a notice of intent to sue, also stating the list of four demands to prevent any further illegal activities by AES. The waste dumped at the site contains harmful carcinogens and cancer substances that are detrimental to public health.
Board of Directors
- Philip Odeen, Chairman
- Andres Gluski, President and CEO
- Zhang Guobao
- Kristina Johnson
- Tarun Khanna
- John Koskinen
- Philip Lader
- Sandra Moose
- Jay Morse
- Charles Rossotti
- Sven Sandstrom
4300 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22203
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- Victoria D. Harker - former president
- J. Wilde Ramsing and T. Steinweg, "Down to the Wire: The Impact of Transnational Companies on Sustainable Electricity Provision in Developing Countries," SOMO, June 2009.
- AES Corp., BusinessWeek Company Insight Center, accessed July 2008.
- "Overview", AES, Accessed February 11, 2013.
- "History", AES, Accessed February 11, 2013.
- "Contact Us", AES, Accessed February 11, 2013.
- "Annual Financial Reports", AES, Accessed February 11, 2013.
- J. Wilde Ramsing and T. Steinweg, "Down to the Wire: The Impact of Transnational Companies on Sustainable Electricity Provision in Developing Countries," SOMO, June 2009.
- Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
- CEO Compensation: #170 Paul T Hanrahan, Forbes.com, May 3, 2007.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
- "AES completes acquistion of six power plants in New York with total capacity of 1424 MW", Business Wire via High Beam Research, May 14, 1999.
- "AES to sell four coal-fired power plants in New York" PennEnergy, March 1, 2011.
- David Robinson, "Numbers tell the story of AES’ implosion" Buffalo Business News, January 15, 2012.
- “GreatPoint Energy closes $100 million capital raise co-led by Citi Alternative Investments and Dow Chemical”, GreatPoint Energy press release, September 24, 2007.
- Martin LaMonica, "Where coal and clean tech meet", Cnet, April 13, 2009.
- Robert Gavin, “Mass. plant will make natural gas from coal”, Boston Globe, October 25, 2007]
- Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
- Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
- Susan Hylton, "Coal plant proposal abandoned," Tulsa World, February 18, 2009.
- Janice Podsada, "NRG Biomass Plant Could Offset Impact of Montville Coal-Fired Power Plant's Closing," The Hartford Courant, December 16, 2011.
- "AES to sell four New York coal plants" Reuters, March, 4, 2011.
- "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
- "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
- Jeff Stant, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club report, August 26, 2010.
- "Town Accuses Coal Plant Of Poisoning Community" December 7, 2010, 4029v.com
- Jared Broyles, "Bokoshe Students Say Coal-Burning Plant Causing Cancer" LA Times, Dec. 7, 2010.
- "AES Comes Out Swinging In Response To Bokoshe Residents" Jared Boyles, 5newsonline.com, December 8, 2010.
- "Oklahoma Senator Inhofe, Congressman Boren Take Up Fly Ash Fight" Jennifer Loren, Oklahoma Impact, December 16, 2010.
- Ken Ward Jr., "EPA data reveals more dangerous coal ash ponds" Coal Tattoo, Oct. 31, 2011.
- "Generation", AES website, accessed June 2008.
- United Kingdom Quality Ash Association, "Power Station Locations and Capacities", undated but after 2006, accessed June 2008.
- Mott MacDonald, "UK Coal Production Outlook: 2004-16", Department of Trade and Industry website, Final Report March 2004. See Appendix E: UK Coal Power Stations, page E-1 at the end of the report.
- J. Wilde Ramsing and T. Steinweg, Down to the Wire, SOMO (Center for Research on Multinational Corporations), June 2009, page 107.
- Danica Coto,"Environmentalists criticize use of coal ash in Puerto Rican construction projects", San Francisco Examiner, April 6, 2010.
- "Green Coal?," Rachel's Environment & Health News, November 6, 2008.
- "Constellation, Gambrills residents settle fly-ash suit," Baltimore Sun, November 1, 2008.
- Shaila Dewan, "Tennessee Valley Authority Increases Hazard Ratings on Coal Ash Sites," New York Times, July 17, 2009.
- Puerto Rico and Coal Ash,  Public Justice.