- Amazon will develop a major data center in Ohio and has tapped American Electric Power to supply energy at the facility, including a location outside of Columbus which AEP previously identified as a potential tech base.
- Though details are still under wraps, Columbus Business First points out the deal seems to illustrate the success of AEP's strategy to court large power users in the tech, oil and gas sectors.
- AEP has been courting large customers considering a move into its 11-state territory, but Columbus Business First reports Amazon reached out to the power provider first in considering its expansion.
Utilities looking to combat declining load growth and defection by large consumers are increasingly offering incentives for the most lucrative customers to buy power from them instead of independent suppliers.
Lately, much that push has focused on the oil and gas industry and the tech sector. Shale drilling and data centers both use large amounts of power, making them good growth opportunities if utilities can supply the greener power that corporations — especially in the tech space — increasingly demand.
Recent news reports that Amazon is planning a major data center in Ohio and has selected AEP to power it would seem to show American Electric Power's strategy of courting larger businesses is working — even if Amazon came to them first. Columbus Business First notes AEP developed a package of nine areas across seven states that it believes would make suitable sites for data centers.
The Hilliard location in Ohio, which AEP believes "is favorable for data center development," would be suitable for 20 MW of cogeneration. It also, because of the area it is located, "offers a temperate climate ideal for 'free cooling.'"
AEP's reports on possible data center locations are detailed documents looking at the local economy, geography, potential for disasters and transportation options.
Details on the deal with Amazon are scant. Columbus Business First reports Amazon Web Services (AWS) would only offer a brief comment, saying the company is "constantly looking for opportunities to expand our geographic coverage in order to provide lower latencies, higher operational efficiencies, and additional choice to customers in terms of where they operate their applications and store their data."
Amazon said there are 10 AWS regions globally, with four in the United States, and the company is evaluating more potential locations.