PRINCETON, N.J., June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, LLC (BLS & Co.) announced today the rollout of nine "Data Center Qualified Sites" for American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the nation's largest utilities. After a comprehensive review of locations across AEP's 11-state territory, BLS qualified sites with reliable and redundant power supply, strong fiber networks, low disaster risks and a business friendly climate.
"As the data center industry has grown more sophisticated, the need for a more systematic approach to identifying and qualifying potential data center sites has become evident," said Tracey Hyatt Bosman, managing director for BLS, which specializes in location economics. "Data centers require highly specialized service from utilities, and a site qualification program is an important part of a utility's preparedness to respond to industry inquiries."
Together with its energy service affiliate, Sugarloaf Associates, BLS designed a three-phase evaluation process that analyzed the electric supply and capacity, access to long- and short-haul fiber providers, water availability, electric costs, tax exemptions and incentives, demographics, vendor/supplier networks and the ability to complete construction within 18 months. As an extra step, a third-party engineering company, Intelligent Building Systems (IBS), modeled each site's ability to accommodate a 100,000-square-foot raised-floor data center designed to current industry specifications.
"The data center pre-qualification process allowed us to clearly understand the needs of the data center users and distinguish AEP as an electric utility able to support those needs. It gives our service territory an advantage in the highly competitive site selection process for data centers," said Mark James, vice president – Economic and Business Development for AEP. "BLS helped us objectively evaluate available sites and provided a deliberate, disciplined approach to collecting and presenting the information needed by data center users."Tim Comerford, BLS Senior Vice President and Sugarloaf Principal, noted, "The qualification process not only looked at site characteristics, but also considered the utilities' cost-to-serve policies and tariff structures." AEP's nine Data Center Qualified Sites are:
- Bradley Square in Bradley, West Virginia
- Cherokee Expressway Industrial Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Findlay Commerce Park in Findlay, Ohio
- Victoria Site in Victoria, Texas
- Industria Center in Muncie, Indiana
- National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, Louisiana
- Progress Park in Wytheville, Virginia
- Roanoke County Center for Research and Technology in Salem, Virginia
- Wolpert Greenfield Site in Hilliard, Ohio