December 7th, 2020
Smart Columbus Introduces Renewable Energy Procurement for Large Columbus Region Energy Buyers
Cardinal Health, Huntington and AEP sign on as first customers to buy Ohio-based clean energy from Smart Columbus Energy, powered by AEP Energy
COLUMBUS, OH – Cardinal Health, American Electric Power (AEP) and Huntington are the first companies to purchase renewable energy through Smart Columbus Energy, an initiative of Smart Columbus announced today. Expanding on the decarbonization vision of the Paul G. Allen grant awarded to Columbus as the winner of the Smart City Challenge, Smart Columbus has established Smart Columbus Energy to accelerate Central Ohio’s transition to clean energy. The initiative supports Mayor Andrew J. Ginther’s vision of a carbon-neutral city by 2050 and the pursuit of prosperity for all residents of the Columbus Region.
As a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)-approved Energy Aggregator and Power Broker, Smart Columbus Energy pools the energy demand of large corporate and industrial organizations in the Region to buy wind and solar energy. With the commitments secured by Smart Columbus Energy, AEP Energy – a subsidiary of AEP – will procure wind and solar power from new projects in the state of Ohio to fulfill the energy demand. The program has the potential to drive $1 billion in new clean energy infrastructure investment in the state, creating jobs and tax revenue. Revenue generated by Smart Columbus Energy will be re-invested into the Smart Columbus initiative to help fund projects designed to make the region more innovative, sustainable, equitable and connected.
“CEO members of the Columbus Partnership told us that they want Ohio-based clean energy, not only for sustainability and sound corporate governance, but because they are committed to driving investment that creates good jobs,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership. “By partnering with AEP and AEP Energy, we’re forming one of the nation’s largest coordinated private sector clean energy buying programs and demonstrating the Columbus Region’s commitment to climate leadership and economic opportunity.”
The initiative complements the Community Choice Aggregation initiative approved by Columbus voters on the November ballot under Issue 1. While Community Choice Aggregation aggregates the energy demand of residents and small businesses within the City of Columbus, Smart Columbus Energy will serve Central Ohio’s large energy users that consume approximately 5,000 MWh or more per year.
“Columbus residents made clear this November that they want their homes and businesses powered by renewable energy, and now our region’s corporate community is joining them to make our power cleaner, our people healthier and our economy more vibrant. This effort by the public and private sectors to drive renewable energy and pursue carbon neutrality is the Columbus Way at its finest,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Together, we are fostering equity by reducing the impact of climate change, creating new job opportunities and reducing energy burden in opportunity neighborhoods.”
“AEP’s long-term strategy is focused on creating new energy solutions for customers with advanced technologies and cleaner energy resources. We are excited to partner with leading organizations in Ohio in new ways to support a sustainable energy future for the state. AEP Energy can help Ohio companies realize their renewable energy objectives, create Ohio jobs, drive new in-state investments and assist in the transition to a clean energy future,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP Chairman, President and CEO. “We’re also thrilled to be able to power our headquarters building and Dolan Lab with clean, locally produced renewable energy.”
AEP is purchasing energy supply for its headquarters building in downtown Columbus and its Dolan Lab in Groveport through the Smart Columbus Energy program. Cardinal Health will power its global headquarter campus in Dublin as well as one of its major Central Ohio distribution centers, and Huntington will power its Columbus facilities with renewable energy provided by the program.
“As part of our culture of making people’s lives better and strengthening the communities we serve, Huntington continually looks for opportunities to lower our carbon footprint and reduce the impacts of climate change. Participation in the Smart Columbus Energy initiative aligns with our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it will help facilitate the further the development of renewable energy industry in Ohio,” said Steve Steinour, Chairman, President and CEO of Huntington. “By harnessing the power of this private-public partnership, we can create a healthier, more sustainable future for the people of our great city.”
Smart Columbus Energy, LLC is a nonprofit managed solely by the Columbus Partnership. It will supply approximately 25 megawatts (MW) of new wind and solar capacity to the three founding customers, the equivalent of powering 7,000 Ohio homes. The program has a potential to add 900 MW of renewable energy capacity, and is now open to large energy buyers.
Organizations that join Smart Columbus Energy’s corporate aggregation will receive reliable electricity just as they do today, with the generation component supplied by AEP Energy. Pricing is a long-term flat energy rate that hedges against future volatility and is competitive with current fossil fuel-based prices, which are at historic lows.
“At Cardinal Health, Global Environmental Health and Safety Programs are a critical component of our commitment to employees, contractors and the community,” said Mike Kaufmann, CEO of Cardinal Health. “We believe the Smart Columbus Energy initiative will have a major impact here in Columbus, and we’re proud to be one of the first companies to sign on. While we know there’s a long way to go, we are committed to doing more and encourage other Ohio companies to join us in this effort.”
About Smart Columbus
Smart Columbus is the smart city initiative of the Columbus Region. The public-private partnership was founded when the City of Columbus beat 77 cities to win the $50 million Smart City Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which sought to demonstrate how a connected, autonomous, shared and electric mobility ecosystem could improve people’s lives. Aligned investments totaling more than $720 million have been made by private, public and academic institutions in the Region to help make Columbus the model connected city of the future. Smart Columbus is co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership and is powered by partnerships with more than 100 public and private sector organizations. For more information, visit smart.columbus.gov.