COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 19, 2000 -- American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) is helping customers learn about wind technology by installing small wind turbines and sharing real-time information about their operation and performance on its web site.

As part of a program to familiarize AEP and its customers with distributed generation devices, five 10-kilowatt wind turbines will be installed this year at several company sites and featured on the World Wide Web at http://www.aep.com/environment/wind.

AEP’s first wind turbine was recently installed at the John Dolan Electrical Engineering Laboratory in Groveport, about 12 miles southeast of Columbus. Additional turbines are planned in Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Michigan.

Wind turbines, the successor to the windmill, convert the wind’s energy to electricity. In some areas, a 10 kW turbine can generate enough electricity to power the home of an average AEP customer. The cost of a wind turbine similar to the model used in this project starts at about $27,000.

The web site will monitor the output of the turbines in weak and strong wind areas and is designed as an information aid for customers who may consider buying a wind turbine. An Internet-based energy management system will allow viewers to use wind maps from the web site to show at any given time how much electricity the wind turbines are generating and compare it to the power typically required for a household or business.
Power quality statistics will be shown, helping customers with sensitive electronic equipment understand the impact of wind generation on power quality. Links to sites that offer more comprehensive data on wind turbines are also accessible through the web site.

“Our customers have told us they want energy that is inexpensive, high quality, very reliable and delivered safely,” said Bruce Renz, AEP’s vice president of energy delivery support. “These small turbines are the kind customers might want to install at a home or business. The turbines are matched well to the low-wind resources that exist throughout most of the current AEP service territory.

"The 10kW turbines are different than the large turbines clustered on wind farms in Texas, Minnesota, California and other high-wind states. Government wind maps show these states have suitable winds that cover more of their territory and are more conducive to wind farms, in contrast to AEP states which are characterized by pockets of moderate wind areas,” Renz said.

Each turbine used in the program will be mounted on a 100-foot tower to capture the wind’s energy using the turbine´s rotating blades. As the wind picks up, the blades slowly spin like a propeller, which in turn spins a generator to make electricity. Increasing wind speeds make the blades spin faster and generate more electricity until the turbine reaches its maximum 10 kW output at about 31 mph. AEP will connect the turbines to the power grid and use the generated electricity for its customers.

“AEP believes a national fuel mix of renewable, nuclear and fossil fuels for small and large generating sources is needed to satisfy the country’s growing demand for energy,” Renz said.

“This project is part of AEP´s efforts to understand how distributed generation sources installed at a home or business might interact with the traditional power system in which energy is generated at a remote location and delivered to the customer via transmission and distribution lines.”

Renz said AEP will quantify the electrical characteristics of wind turbines and other generation sources, including fuel cells, microturbines, advanced batteries and photovoltaics at its research laboratory.

The wind turbines project complements AEP’s Learning from Light program which helps schools install solar cell panels and teach their students about energy resources. Students are able to use the AEP web site, http://www.aep.com//environment/solar/index.html, to track the amount of solar electricity produced and energy used by their school. Students can then use the information to compare their school’s energy usage to others and to study the science and economics of energy. Learning from Light is a cooperative effort between AEP, the Foundation for Environmental Education, federal and state governments and local communities.

A 30-minute television documentary produced by the Foundation for Environmental Education will feature AEP’s wind turbines program later this year on public television and will be distributed to most U.S. school districts and the public.

AEP, a global energy company, is one of the United States´ largest investor-owned utilities, providing energy to 3 million customers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. AEP has holdings in the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Australia. Wholly owned subsidiaries provide power engineering, energy consulting and energy management services around the world. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio. On Dec. 22, 1997, AEP announced a definitive merger agreement for a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction with Central and South West Corp., a public utility holding company based in Dallas.

For More Information, Contact:
Jeri Waters
Media Relations

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