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Opponents Call AEP Renewable Project An Unnecessary Subsidy


Opponents of American Electric Power’s renewable energy project say the proposal to build new wind and solar farms in Highland County would result in an unnecessary subsidy with customers footing the bill.

AEP Ohio wants to generate 900MW of renewable energy, starting with a 400MW solar farm. The utility is touting this as a major development project that could create thousands of jobs in Appalachia.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel says the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio should deny the project because AEP has not demonstrated that the state needs this new power generation.

“It’s bad enough that the PUCO has allowed AEP to charge 1.5 million customers to subsidize its old coal plants. Now AEP wants its customers to subsidize new renewable energy power plants,” said J.P. Blackwood, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel spokesperson, in a statement. “Consumers need the utility subsidy culture at the PUCO to end.  Renewable energy is a good thing and Ohio’s competitive market is already providing Ohioans with lots of choices for renewable power without subsidies.”

Other groups opposing the project include coal companies, retail electric suppliers, and Industrial Energy Users-Ohio.

AEP says the project will give a boost to Appalachia, diversify the energy portfolio, and benefit customers with better costs further down the line.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.