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May 13, 2013

Muncie Site Receives First Data Center Qualified Designation

(FORT WAYNE, Ind., May 13, 2013) –
A Muncie site has earned the distinction of becoming Indiana’s first and only Data Center Qualified site, Indiana Michigan Power announced.

The designation is the result of a partnership between Indiana Michigan Power and its parent company, American Electric Power.

The Data Center Qualified site spans 97 acres in the Muncie Industria Centre. To qualify for the coveted designation, the Data Center Site Qualification Program analyzes sites to determine that they offer the unique combination of factors desired by today’s mission critical and data center operations. The factors include highly reliable and redundant power and fiber infrastructures, competitive cost structures, and a location insulated from natural disasters and other risks.

One of the many contributing factors to the Data Center Qualification is the low electric rates provided by Indiana Michigan Power – the most affordable electricity provided by any investor-owned utility in the State of Indiana.  More information about the site can be found on the Indiana Michigan Power Economic Development web site:

Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company (BLS) and Sugarloaf Associates performed the independent, third-party verification required for the designation.

“The designation of the Data Center Qualified site is another example of Indiana Michigan Power’s commitment to economic development,” said Rob Cleveland, Manager of Economic & Business Development. “I&M is grateful to have quality partners such as the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance. Our goal in receiving third-party verification of these sites is to remove all risk in the site location process. By working with respected companies like Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company and Sugarloaf Associates, we have made the site location process easier and more reliable for prospective data center customers.”

The review process included an initial site survey and an in-depth review of supporting documents to determine the feasibility to support a test-model mission-critical facility.  That facility includes 100,000 square feet of raised floor designed to current industry specifications for power usage and redundancy.  According to the Data Center Qualification, the Muncie site is favorable for data center development and offers strong utility infrastructure. Logistically, the Muncie area offers a temperate climate, which is conducive for “free cooling.”  For a Data Center, “free cooling” generally refers to the ability to make use of outside air for cooling purposes, which can greatly reduce electrical costs.

“Having the only Data Center Qualified site in the State of Indiana is a competitive advantage for Muncie-Delaware County as we work to attract these highly-sought, capital intensive projects,” said Traci Lutton, Project Manager for the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance. “We are grateful to Indiana Michigan Power and AEP for this opportunity to identify and market the assets that make us well-suited to the needs of this expanding sector.”

The Muncie Data Center Qualified site is located in the Muncie Industria Centre, which is located in an existing Tax Increment Finance district and a CReED Zone. The site is zoned industrial and is part of an Industrial Park that exceeds 900 acres, nearly 500 of which are currently developed. The site has four-lane access to Interstate 69, and is within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population and industrial market.

The Data Center Qualified site is one of two sites within the Muncie Industria Centre to receive third-party certification.  The other certified site is designated Food Processing Shovel-Ready by Austin Consulting, an industry leader in food processing site location services.  The Austin-certified site is 78 acres and provides ideal transportation, environmental, utility and Infrastructure needs for food processing customers.

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,500 employees serve more than 582,000 customers. It operates 3,595 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,110 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states.  The company also provides its customers 250 MW of purchased wind generation.

I&M is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 39,000 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. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.