News & Reports

New Appalachian Power Program Identifies Sites Ready To Power Up Data Centers

April 25, 2013

ROANOKE, VA., April 25, 2013 – Appalachian Power today announced a new effort to help lure large capital investment and high-tech, high-paying jobs to the area. The program targets a growing industry by identifying sites in western Virginia that are independently qualified to meet requirements to support a data center.

The Appalachian Power program is part of an American Electric Power (AEP) effort to identify optimum data center sites in the company’s 11-state service area. Both Roanoke County’s Center for Research and Technology and Wythe County’s Progress Park met the criteria and are the first two sites to receive the designation.

“Appalachian Power’s data center qualification program targets an industry that can bring significant investment and high-paying employment opportunities,” said Mark Dempsey, Appalachian Power external affairs vice president. “Because electric infrastructure is a key component to economic growth we are already engaged in the economic development process. Under this program, we’re pleased to have the opportunity to help facilitate economic growth in our communities.”

“Projects like this investment by Appalachian Power are important to help grow and diversify the economy in western Virginia,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “Appalachian Power’s investment will bring good, high-paying jobs and economic development to the Commonwealth. The company’s confidence in Virginia illustrates why our highly trained and available workforce, favorable regulatory environment, and pro-business policies are keeping the Commonwealth at the top of national lists as the best state in which to do business”

The data center qualification was conducted by Biggins Lacey Shaprio & Company (BLS), a nationally recognized location consulting firm, in partnership with Sugarloaf Associates, an energy advisory group specializing in the data center industry. They evaluated market conditions and sites in AEP’s service territory for suitability for data centers. The consultants visited potential sites and evaluated them on criteria including electric and fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure, risk of natural disasters and other hazards, tax policy and incentives and climate suitable for a data center, for example.

Information about AEP’s data center qualification program, including site information and the complete study for Roanoke County’s Center for Research and Technology and Wythe County’s Progress Park can be found at

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

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