AEP Ohio files plan to secure grid resources for data centres

AEP Ohio files plan to secure grid resources for data centres

AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, has filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in docket 24-508-EL-ATA a proposal that would create a new rate category for data centre customers and cryptocurrency mining/mobile data centre operations.

The proposed rate structure would require new data centres with loads greater than 25MW and cryptocurrency mining operations/mobile data centres with loads greater than 1MW to agree to meet certain requirements before facilities are constructed to serve them.

“Demand for computing power from data centres, which require enormous amounts of electricity, is being fuelled by Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies,” said Marc Reitter, President and Chief Operating Officer, AEP Ohio. “AEP Ohio is seeing unprecedented demand from data centre customers, especially in the Central Ohio area. While we see no concerns serving current or new residential and existing commercial or industrial customers, we need to ensure that the right long-term investments are made to the electric grid.

“We need accurate plans and solid commitments from large data centre customers so the right facilities are built at the right time. This will help us keep Ohio open for business for all industries, while making sure customers aren’t paying for unused infrastructure,” added Reitter.

Under the proposal, data centres would be required to make a 10-year commitment to pay for a minimum of 90% of the energy they say they need each month – even if they use less.

Data centre development has rapidly expanded in AEP Ohio’s service territory, especially in the Central Ohio region. Electricity demand in Central Ohio, driven largely by data centres, is already expected to more than double by 2030 making demand in the region roughly equal to that of Manhattan.

Adding additional large users will require investment in new extra-high voltage transmission lines to bring more power into the region. These lines can take seven-to-10 years to plan and construct.

“AEP Ohio has helped the state of Ohio attract thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in investment because over the decades, AEP has built an extensive network of transmission lines to deliver the power these customers need,” Reitter said. “This is one of the reasons data centre developers targeted Central Ohio, and they continue to request large amounts of power. We need to ensure they can follow through with their commitments as significant new investments are made to serve them.”

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