The E&BD team provides comprehensive location advisory services to companies looking to expand or locate new operations, including property searches and screening; custom community and site analysis; and introductions to local economic development partners and industry resources.
The team has recently launched a new and improved website – www.aeped.com – that provides companies and site selection consultants with essential information about locating and expanding in AEP’s 11-state territory. Site selection typically starts on the Internet, so it is critical to make a compelling case about opportunities that exist in your region. The website features detailed information on AEP states and premier certified sites, as well as several interactive mapping tools that provide demographic and business data about AEP-served counties and a tool to tell users if their location is served by AEP.
For several years, the E&BD team has built a portfolio of well-prepared sites in our service territory to meet the needs of expanding companies. These sites have undergone a rigorous certification process to ensure they are ready for immediate development. They reduce the risks associated with development and accelerate speed to market by providing detailed information, including price and availability, utilities, access, environmental concerns and potential development costs.
Italian automotive supplier, ELDOR Corporation, announced its decision in March 2016 to locate its first U.S. production plant on an AEP certified industrial site in Botetourt County, Virginia. ELDOR will invest $75 million and plans 350 new jobs at the facility over the next five years. In addition to the Botetourt site, AEP has, as of March 2016, certified and is actively marketing 12 other sites for industrial use, 10 sites for data center development and six sites for food and beverage processing.
In 2015, the E&BD team launched its foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy. FDI is a key source of capital, job creation and innovation. The United States and AEP states in particular, are attractive and competitive destinations for FDI. In collaboration with state and other economic development partners, AEP is working to attract international investment into our service territory. We have hired consultants in five key markets: Canada, China, Germany, India and Japan.
Amazon, the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States, announced in March 2016 that it selected AEP Ohio’s service territory in central Ohio as the location for its $1.1 billion investment in three new data centers. AEP’s valued customer service, comprehensive economic and business development services, and reliable power delivery solutions were a few key reasons that persuaded Amazon to choose suburban Columbus. The E&BD team helped the large Internet retailer identify sites for its data center development and AEP Transmission Planning provided service delivery plans to each site.
AEP’s experience and technical know-how allowed us to work on Amazon’s accelerated timeframe and provide temporary electric to service to each site while permanent service buildout is in progress. Also, because of the strength and breadth of AEP’s transmission system, Amazon is able to access clean energy alternatives in the PJM Marketplace to power its operations. Central Ohio also awaits construction of two Amazon distribution centers that could bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area. One center is expected to be served by AEP Ohio.
Our strong relationships with state and local development officials, workforce agencies and other utilities are among the reasons customers want us to be their energy advisor. Our business is more than just making electricity; it’s about making connections with communities, businesses and people. In addition to our corporate E&BD efforts, our operating company economic development initiatives include grant programs for communities and businesses, community and site marketing assistance, and ally training on topics such as workforce development, selling strategies, site readiness and business retention and expansion.