energy security

US energy provider AEP Ohio secured regulatory greenlight to implement its Energy Security Plan.

The energy regulator, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), approved AEP Ohio’s proposal to increase electric vehicle charging and renewable energy generation infrastructure.

A $10 million EV charging infrastructure development initiative will be created under the Smart Columbus project.

The initiative aims to install up to 300 level 2 charging stations and 75DC fast EV chargers. The project will provide consumers with incentives to install chargers at workplaces, residential apartments and government buildings. 10% of the chargers will be developed in low-income areas.

The ESP comprises the utility’s multiple programmes to ensure grid reliability and promises stability in consumer energy tariffs through to 2024.

For instance, microgrids will be constructed to secure energy supply in public service facilities including police stations, hospitals and emergency shelters.

AEP Ohio has committed to develop 400 MW of solar and 500 MW of wind power in Ohio to help the state achieve its renewable energy targets. The energy regulator has also allowed the utility to purchase clean energy from prosumers.

The utility will increase installation of smart technologies such automated equipment in a bid to digitise the operations of its grid network. The development will enable the grid to have self healing capabilities in the event of failures. This will help improve the reliability of the grid system.

Moreover, AEP Ohio will continue its vegetation management programme, which has reduced the number of outages caused by trees within rights-of-way by 88% since 2010.
The approval increases bills for residential customers using 1,000KWh per month by 50 cents.

Julie Sloat, COO at AEP,said: "Our customers want reliability and access to advanced technologies, such as EV charging stations, microgrids and renewable energy resources.

"Our plan allows us to bring these services, which also will support economic development in Ohio, to customers across the state. The ESP enables us to continue our investments in the electric grid to provide reliable power and help advance the new technologies and cleaner energy that our customers want."

The ESP also supports the PUCO's Power Forward initiative through a rider that enables AEP Ohio to implement future recommendations made by the PUCO.

"Companies are increasingly evaluating the availability of renewable energy when they are looking to locate or expand their business. Having access to renewable resources helps make Ohio more attractive to businesses," reiterated Sloat.