Technology and Innovation
A robust, modern grid is a natural enabler of technology and innovation. The power grid of the future will be fully integrated, decentralized and digitized and will have a smaller carbon footprint. Data analytics and new technology innovations will allow us to meet customers’ needs – whether as a buyer or a seller of electricity. Technology, information and telecommunications are helping us to identify and develop programs and services for customers, while enabling them to deploy new technologies to personalize their use of energy. AEP is preparing for this new dynamic with investments in technology, strategic partnerships, talent development and capacity-building for new skills, such as data science.
The technology landscape is vast. As we begin to look at new and innovative revenue models to address minimal load growth, technology will play a critical role in the delivery of products and services our customers want.
Enterprise Technology Council
AEP’s Enterprise Technology Council (ETC) is charged with identifying, evaluating and standardizing the technologies we apply to the grid or offer to customers. This cross-functional team from our Generation, Transmission and Distribution and Customer Services business units is focused on these four areas of technology development:
- Energy Storage
- Renewable Generation
- Virtual Power Plant (VPP)
- Smart Circuits
Formed in 2015, the ETC reviews technologies that could help improve the efficiency, reliability and flexibility of our facilities. We also look “behind the meter” (on the customer side of the meter) for ways to maximize customer benefits. To identify best practices that we can apply to the grid, the team looks at what’s happening in academia, energy technology incubators and startups and across the industry to see what’s out there and how it’s being developed.
For example, members have discussed microgrids, “smart” breaker technologies and energy storage with Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) representatives. They visited Innovation Centers at Southern Company and Kansas City Power & Light. And they held a workshop with commercial and industrial customers to discuss renewable energy opportunities.
In academia, ETC members are exploring potential energy infrastructure, research and development opportunities with several institutions across our service territory.
ETC members are also engaged in the EPRI Technology Innovation Committee and Incubate Energy Network. Both provide networking opportunities with industry peers, and access to a variety of startups and incubators from across the U.S. focused on energy-related technologies and innovations with the potential to improve our business and/or enhance the customer experience.