COLUMBUS – Following a historic announcement of projects that would more than double renewable energy in Ohio, AEP applied yesterday to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to facilitate the development of the largest solar energy farm in the state’s history through a low, fixed-cost contract lasting 20 years. The application, if approved, would begin to meet the overwhelming demand expressed by Ohio's electricity customers for more renewable energy.
The filing includes a detailed economic development study that shows the project would create more than 4,000 new jobs, including 113 permanent manufacturing jobs in the solar supply chain – with the project developer committing to give preference to military veterans for all construction-related jobs. In addition, the filing projects a $250 million increase in new workers earnings, $700 million in new economic output, and growing Ohio’s GDP by more than $400 million. The massive solar energy project would make Ohio the leader of solar energy production in the Midwest and bring significant economic benefits to a region hit hard by the decline of the coal industry.
Today’s filing includes plans for developing a combined 400MW of solar, split between two farms that were selected through a competitive bid process. Both will be located in Highland county. The filing at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is expected to be followed with other projects that would make up the 900MW of renewable energy announced in Ohio last week.
The following is a statement from Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio energy policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“This innovative project is the first of its kind in Ohio. It will bring low-cost renewable energy and create significant economic benefits and jobs for Appalachian Ohio, an area that has struggled with the coal industry's decline and as Ohio’s coal plants continue to prove unable to compete with cheaper and cleaner energy.
“Ohio electricity customers have been demanding more investments in low-cost clean energy for years. The PUCO and the company took notice of this consumer sentiment a couple years ago in a stipulated agreement with multiple stakeholders, and AEP has followed through on its commitment to bring these projects forward in a competitive way that creates new jobs in Appalachian Ohio. The economic opportunities that come from a project like this will have a significant positive impact on these Appalachian counties. The jobs of the new energy economy are going to go somewhere, and we should be proactive in making sure they go where we need them most.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.