AEP Ohio, an operating unit of American Electric Power, has applied for $75 million in federal stimulus funds to support the AEP Ohio gridSMART Demonstration Project. Designed to improve electricity distribution efficiency and reliability, the project will cut energy consumption and emissions, while at the same time creating at least 500 jobs over a three-year period.

The application is in response to a request by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate how smart grid technology can enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of energy delivery on a regional and national level through the creation of regional smart grid demonstration projects.

AEP Ohio's $150 million project will be deployed in northeast central Ohio starting in 2010 and will include installation of approximately 110,000 advanced electricity meters; new distribution grid technology; distributed energy sources; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; smart appliances; and consumer systems and products to help customers manage electricity use and costs. Elements all designed to demonstrate the full benefits of installing a comprehensive distribution smart grid for consumers and the utility.

"Many in our sector are just installing smart meters, but our strategy goes beyond that," said Joe Hamrock, president and chief operating officer for AEP Ohio. "Most important, we will give customers the tools and information needed to use electricity more efficiently while improving the efficiency of how we deliver electricity to our customers. These efficiencies will help our customers save money, reduce the power that we need to generate, cut emissions and also delay the need to build generation."

The project will include AEP Ohio customers in a 150 square mile area representing urban and rural residential Ohio communities, including parts of Columbus, Gahanna, New Albany, Bexley, Whitehall, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, Blacklick, Johnstown, Alexandria, Minerva Park and Pataskala. Within the project area, AEP Ohio intends to build a secure, integrated smart grid system that will improve efficiency and reliability, potentially reducing energy consumption by 18,000 megawatt-hours (MWH), peak demand by 15 megawatts (MW), and consumer cost by $5.75 million over the length of the project. These demand and energy reductions represent the energy needed to power 1,800 homes and show how smart grid technologies can help better manage the dispatching of existing generation today and the construction of new generation in the future.

"The AEP Ohio gridSMART Demonstration Project will accommodate differences in residential, commercial and industrial consumer requirements and preferences, while enhancing the efficiency and reliability of our electricity distribution system," Hamrock said.

AEP Ohio will be working with a team of industry leaders throughout this project, including Battelle; General Electric; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center managed by Battelle; Lockheed Martin; and S&C Electric. The company also will be working with regulatory and stakeholder collaborators, including the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the Ohio Consumers Counsel, PJM, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

In March 2009, the PUCO authorized AEP Ohio to spend $54.5 million toward the company's gridSMART plan and to seek federal funding to help support gridSMART deployment. AEP Ohio applied Aug. 26 for funding from the DOE Program Area of Interest 1: Regional Demonstrations. Award notifications will be made later this year. The remaining amount of the project will be covered by contributions from corporate team members.