American Electric Power (AEP) unveiled plans this week to invest $52 million to build 8-10 utility microgrids as part of a smart city design for Columbus, Ohio.
AEP Ohio filed the microgrid proposal with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as part of an update to the utility’s Electric Security Plan.
The proposal makes AEP the latest in a series of U.S. utility giants pursuing microgrids, among them Duke Energy, Exelon, Edison International, National Grid, PG&E, PSEG, Southern Company and Xcel Energy.
AEP plans to install the microgrids over four years at critical facilities, such as police and fire stations, hospitals, social service centers, shelters, water and sewer infrastructure, grocery stores and gas stations. The utility intends to let other nearby customers connect their on-site generation to a microgrid for a fee.
The 8-10 microgrids are the first phase of AEP’s microgrid rollout; the utility plans additional projects later.
In addition to the $52 million, AEP seeks approval to recover $1.5 million per year for microgrid operations and maintenance. The utility plans to recoup the microgrid costs through a distribution technology rider on customer bills.