AEP Sustainability - Economic Impact

Economic Growth & Impact

Economic and business development is critical to AEP’s ability to help facilitate growth for key business customers and generate opportunities and investments for the communities that we serve. Our team of experts is dedicated to partnering with customers to create growth-oriented solutions. These solutions both keep and relocate jobs on American soil and often help to revitalize communities that need opportunities and support.

Economic development helps our communities in several ways, including increasing the tax base, job development, economic diversification, and capacity building for long-term sustainability. Through training, education and financial support, AEP works to strengthen the economic vitality of our communities to attract jobs that support the growth of local economies. In 2021, AEP facilitated, partnered with, or supported more than 100 projects that will bring more than 37,800 jobs across our 11-state service territory.

Some of our most recent and notable economic growth opportunities include the announcement of Nucor’s new manufacturing plant and Intel’s two new semiconductor manufacturing plants. Nucor, North America’s largest steel company, will build a new manufacturing plant in West Virginia, creating 800 full-time permanent manufacturing jobs. The site will be one of the most advanced, lowest emission sheet mills in the world.

In January 2022, Intel officially announced plans for an initial investment of more than $20 billion to construct two new semiconductor chip manufacturing operations in New Albany, Ohio – right in the heart of AEP’s service territory. The move supports Intel’s strategy to boost domestic production of microchips to keep up with the demand while reducing America’s reliance on global manufacturing hubs. With the project will come more than 10,000 jobs over the course of construction and an entirely new industry for central Ohio. This will be Intel’s first new semiconductor factory in 40 years and the world’s largest. The deal promises to have a considerable long-term global and local impact as Intel pledged an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions to fuel the talent pipeline throughout the region.

Energy-Ready Sites

Leveraging our field knowledge, detailed mapping capabilities and analytical insights, we are focused on continually growing and marketing a broad portfolio of available industrial properties. Many of these available sites are marketed as AEP Quality Sites, which are industrial properties that are development-ready. The sites have been vetted by industrial site selection and construction experts and have infrastructure in place or planned along with completed environmental studies. Prepping these sites to be energy-ready also reduces construction time, making AEP even more competitive in attracting business development opportunities while delivering benefits to communities in our footprint.

As an example, in 2021, CANPACK, an aluminum and packaging company based in Poland, broke ground on its second U.S. plant, located in Muncie, Indiana. The company located this new plant on one of the sites within the AEP Quality Sites portfolio, which indicated the site’s readiness for development. The site was also bordered by energy-ready assets including a 138-kilovolt (kV) line and a new substation, making the Muncie site attractive to CANPACK. The investment will create 345 jobs by the end of 2023. This is Indiana Michigan Power’s largest development project in 10 years.

In addition, we are building a portfolio of sites for EV fleet charging. As the cost of EVs continues to drop, we are seeing adoption rates increase among both our residential and commercial customers. In addition, several of our business customers are setting zero emission goals for their transportation fleets. These businesses will need sites that can accommodate the demand for increased electric use to supply their growing EV fleets. To support these customers, AEP has developed ‘EV Ready Sites’ to provide them with site-specific information such as currently available energy infrastructure capacity and associated development timelines that can enable them to quickly and cost effectively to support their efforts in electrifying their fleet.

Supply Chain Security & Development

AEP understands the importance of having access to critical assets to keep the lights on for our customers. We are also keenly aware of the challenges many key business partners have faced in procuring critical parts such as microchips. Rising global energy, labor and transportation costs and supply chain disruptions makes domestic manufacturing and sourcing competitive and attractive.

In response, we are leading a strategic initiative centered on supporting U.S. manufacturing. Through this initiative, we are targeting existing AEP customers and suppliers, as well as potential new-to-AEP customers that may be considering shifting some or all of their overseas production to the U.S. and/or may be seeking more domestic U.S. sources for their supply chains.

Workforce and Community Development

Beyond our involvement in specific projects, a cornerstone of our Economic and Businesses Development strategy has always been workforce and community development. Whether it is directly assisting with business attraction efforts, contributing to site readiness initiatives, or providing training to our community stakeholders, we work diligently to elevate our service territory.

In an effort to be a resource for our partners, AEP created Energizing Economic Development, a self-paced e-learning course designed to help community leaders have a greater impact on the future and success of their community economic development. This free program was first stood up at PSO and is being rolled out at other operating companies. More than 300 community leaders have participated to date.

Our team has also supported our various partners across the region with their grant submissions. In Appalachian Power alone, our team members participated in committees and delivered letters of support for Virginia Tech’s submission focused on the future of Transportation and Logistics as well as the Appalachian Climate Technology Coalition’s efforts to leverage federal funds to revitalize and repurpose economically distressed and coal-impacted counties in West Virginia.

AEP continues to work with our local communities to help revitalize some of the areas hit hardest by the changes in the coal industry, particularly in the heart of Appalachia. To help these states make the transition and diversify their economies, AEP remains committed to attracting new industry and jobs and empowering local leaders to take the lead in rebuilding their communities through the Appalachian Sky project.

Since being initiated in 2017, Appalachian Sky has made a difference, as evidenced by aerospace-connected economic development announcements including Thoroughbred Aviation’s decision to expand its Kentucky operations to the Huntington Tri-State Regional Airport in West Virginia. AEP also contributed to the efforts to expand Raleigh County Memorial Airport in West Virginia. With the help of grants, the airport expanded its runway and developed more than 100 acres into site-ready property for industrial development. The upgrades were key to attracting two new companies and enabling the expansion of an existing manufacturer. Appalachian Sky recently became a nonprofit, a move that opens the door to receiving more federal funding. An AEP representative serves on the board.