© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

AEP Seeks Approval For Large Solar Farm

solar panels

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is holding hearings on what could be the largest renewable energy project in the state.

AEP Ohio wants to generate 900 megawatts of renewable energy, starting with a 400 megawatts solar farm in Highland County. The utility is touting this as a major development project that could create thousands of jobs Ohio's Appalachian region.

The hearing is intended to determine if there’s a “need” for a new generation plant, which state law requires.

In the past that need has been traditionally based off of energy supply in the state. However supporters of the project say an argument based on need should also consider other issues such as fuel diversity, carbon reduction and Appalachian development.

“So we’re just trying to say what’s the new energy economy, what’s the new industry? This isn’t about instead of, this is about ‘and’ not ‘or,’” said Evan Blumer with the Appalachian Ohio Solar Jobs Network.

Opponents argue there is not a clear and present need for new solar power generation and it would likely displace other forms of fuel.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.