In 2016, the City of Columbus – home to AEP’s corporate headquarters – won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge. Smart Columbus has a vision that starts with the reinvention of mobility, positioning central Ohio for a future beyond what anyone has yet imagined. Goals include:
- Improving people’s quality of life
- Driving growth in the economy
- Providing better access to jobs and job opportunities
- Becoming a world-class logistics center
- Fostering sustainability
As part of this initiative, AEP Ohio will help drive consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by removing barriers and investing in and supporting the deployment of electric charging station infrastructure. AEP was one of several partners to sign on to the challenge with the City of Columbus. The collaborative focuses on modernizing the transportation network and reducing carbon emissions in both the transportation and electric power sectors. While the partnership focuses on central Ohio, the lessons we take away will benefit all of AEP.
As part of the effort to transform Ohio’s capital city into a model for urban planning and development in the 21st century economy, AEP Ohio has invested approximately $1.5 million in fleet electrification since 2016 and installed nearly 60 EV charging stations in 2017. In addition, the project includes installing nearly 900,000 smart meters in Columbus and across the state of Ohio. We are also pursuing a plan to invest approximately $175 million to improve energy efficiency, advance clean energy and energy storage, and usher along the electrification of transportation systems throughout the state.
In April 2018, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved AEP Ohio’s Electric Security Plan (ESP), supporting expanded access to electric vehicle (EV) charging and renewable generation, while continuing to enhance distribution grid reliability.
Under the ESP, a program to expand EV charging station availability will be created as part of the Smart Columbus initiative. The project creates a rebate incentive program for the hardware, network services, and installation of charging infrastructure for up to 300 level 2 charging stations and 75 DC Fast charging stations. The $10 million program offers rebates for site owners to install charging stations, with 10 percent of the stations to be located in low-income areas. It is believed to be the first approved rebate for EV charging in the Midwest.
Smart City Accelerator
The Singularity University Smart City Accelerator provides a forum to bring emerging technology companies together to commercialize their ideas to support the Smart City initiative in Columbus. AEP has engaged Singularity University as its innovation partner. SU works with individuals and organizations to tackle the world’s biggest challenges by helping them understand rapidly accelerating technologies and how to apply them.
AEP is among the companies that have sent internal teams through the accelerator to innovate on their own projects. This unique collaboration with the city, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), startups, and other corporations is designed to catalyze new innovations in the smart city space. Ideas from our employees were submitted to the Smart City Accelerator. One would create an electric vehicle subscription program, and the second would establish a smart street lighting program.
A total of 13 startups participated in the program, including participants from AEP, where the program helped either launch their company or further their ideas into a business. The accelerator was designed for companies that fit within the focus areas of the DOT’s Smart City Challenge initiative which looks to:
- Integrate transportation technologies
- Improve accessibility to transportation
- Create a cleaner environment
Results of these efforts include:
- A partnership with a company to build analytics that can bring further intelligence to our systems. This will help us operate the AEP electrical systems more efficiently today and in the future.
- A partnership between AEP Ohio and a company to deliver energy benchmarking services to customers.
- An AEP Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Subscription Plan, AEP’s first start-up offering under Kyte Works. With this service, we will improve the customer experience for faster car charging by providing Level Two charging (6x faster) with just one call.