Today, customers expect their electric service to be more flexible, efficient and reliable. As we modernize and strengthen the system to meet their needs today and in the future, we are creating a smarter and more sophisticated system that provides universal access to cleaner, cost-effective power and tailored energy solutions.
Each of our operating companies varies its speed and level of investment in grid modernization based on customers’ needs and regulatory support. We strive to find the right mix of projects and technologies that modernize and optimize the grid while maintaining affordability for our customers. Having the right public policies and regulations in place directly impacts our ability to meet customers’ expectations.
In Ohio, state regulators convened a grid modernization initiative, called PowerForward, which explored how the distribution system can be improved through innovation to better the lives of Ohioans. The result was a comprehensive roadmap, which AEP provided input for, that lays out a path for supporting innovation to enhance the customer experience. PowerForward Roadmap envisions the distribution grid as a secure and open access platform that allows for customer applications to interface seamlessly with it. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio also identified advanced meters as a core component of this platform.
In 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia adopted a new energy plan designed to “promote the transition to a more flexible, resilient, affordable and environmentally responsible energy system.” The Grid Transformation and Security Act (Senate Bill 966) outlined recommendations for the electric sector as well as the shifts anticipated in the transportation sector that will impact the electric sector. Virginia’s new energy plan for the Commonwealth includes:
- 5,000 MW of utility-owned and utility-operated wind and solar
- 500 MW of rooftop solar resources less than 1 MW of which are in the public interest
- $1.1 billion investment in energy efficiency programs by investor-owned utilities
- Cost recovery structures for projects that modernize the grid and support the integration of distributed energy resources
The initiatives in Ohio and Virginia are examples of the types of public policies that are needed to support the growth of a modern grid. Read more about this in Public Policy.