AEP Ohio Solar Farm Project update


Initial briefs regarding the largest proposed clean energy project in Ohio’s history were filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on March 6. The case will determine the outcome of American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio’s application to prove the need to build at least 900 megawatts of Ohio renewable energy projects, which include 400 megawatts of solar powered generation to be located in Highland County.

Support continues to mount for the solar projects. Ohio Energy Group (OEG), an organization of large energy intensive industrial corporations which aims to ensure that gas and electricity in Ohio are available, reliable and at the lowest reasonable price to all consumers, filed in support of adding more solar to Ohio’s generating mix.

Highlights from the OEG brief include:

* AEP Ohio has demonstrated a “need” for 900 megawatts of economically beneficial generic renewable resources, as they would lower energy prices and enhance rate stability.

* Facilitating the construction of 900 megawatts of renewable energy in Ohio would contribute to fuel diversity and help address the need for rate stability.

* Constructing 900 megawatts of renewable energy resources in Ohio would help address the need for economic development in Ohio and “facilitate the state’s effectiveness in the global economy” by creating new jobs and tax revenues in an otherwise depressed portion of the state.

Final briefs are due March 27. The five PUCO commissioners have 30 days to respond. Ultimately, the commissioners will determine renewable energy’s role in Ohio’s energy future. A newly appointed chairman of the PUCO is expected to take his seat prior to the decision being announced.

In a set of related cases, the staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), along with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Open Road Renewables, have filed a joint-stipulation recommending approval of the Willowbrook Solar Farm siting application. And the OPSB Staff just this week issued its staff report on the Hecate Energy 300MW solar proposal, also recommending for its approval.

These rural Ohio solar projects have brought together stakeholders from across the state who believe in using renewable energy to improve our economy and Appalachia Ohio.

Submitted by Julie Theado, Krile Communications.

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