Infrastructure Winning the Smart City Challenge

At American Electric Power (AEP), we understand that the growing demands of the 21st-century economy require smart, comprehensive and sustainable infrastructure solutions. As one of the largest electric utility companies in the U.S., we are working every day on innovative ways to meet the rapidly evolving energy needs of our nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.

For AEP, this means getting ahead of the curve through advanced energy infrastructure — the wires that serve homes and businesses — and preparing for advancements in transportation and other major catalysts for economic growth, before they come online.

As part of these efforts, we are thrilled to play a leading role in Smart Columbus, an audacious undertaking to transform Ohio’s capital city into a model for urban planning and development in the 21st century.

As we mark Infrastructure Week 2017, AEP is very proud that our hometown was selected from 78 cities nationwide as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. The groundbreaking initiative, which is supported by both public and private funding, seeks to drive economic growth and opportunity, improve quality of life and foster sustainability.

“Smart Cities” represents an exciting and revolutionary approach to urban infrastructure planning. Dr. Anthony Townsend, who specializes in the intersection of technology and population centers, defines smart cities as “places where information technology is combined with infrastructure, architecture, everyday objects and our bodies to address social, economic and environmental challenges.” That is the ambitious goal we aim to reach in Columbus.

The emergence of smart cities presents utility companies and other businesses with great opportunities to work with government leaders and others to enrich their communities.

At Business Roundtable, we believe government has an important role to play in accelerating these critical efforts. In Back in Business: A Blueprint for Renewing American Infrastructure, our member CEOs outline areas in which policymakers can chart a course to jobs and growth through smarter regulations and investments, incentives for research and development and through public-private partnerships like the Smart City Challenge.

Smart Columbus is an example of the great potential these public-private partnerships hold. Our efforts include employing the latest advanced technology and equipment to deliver energy more efficiently and improve how the grid responds to power outages.

This summer, we will begin expanding our smart meter program to nearly 900,000 additional customers in Columbus and across the state of Ohio. AEP is also pursuing a plan to invest $175 million to improve energy efficiency, advance clean energy and energy storage and usher along the electrification of transportation systems throughout the Buckeye State.

AEP is excited to be part of the Smart Columbus effort, and we are confident the lessons learned through this project will help communities across America become smart cities in their own right.

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