Responding to the request of Ohioans
Utility customers are expecting and – in some cases – demanding cleaner, renewable energy.
An average of 74 percent of residential and 62 percent small commercial and industrial customers said they would be willing to pay more than they currently do to increase the use of renewables.
In 2018, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum released a statewide poll showing conservative voters throughout the state overwhelmingly support clean energy. Nearly four-in-five conservative voters in Ohio (79 percent) say they would tell a Republican candidate to support policies that encourage energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy in the state.
This project represents one of the best opportunities for substantial job creation in a part of Ohio that has struggled with high unemployment, an opioid epidemic, and a lack of new business development. This is precisely the type of job-creating large infrastructure project needed in Appalachia. The jobs of the new energy economy are going to go somewhere, and they should go where they are needed most.
The solar projects will support more than 4,000 jobs in Appalachian Ohio. Ohio workers’ earnings will grow by more than $250M, economic output will grow by more than $700M and Ohio GDP will grow by more than $400M. Types of jobs include direct impact jobs to build the facilities and manufacture component parts, indirect jobs that generate additional economic impact by firms that provide supplies needed to complete the project and induced impact jobs generated by additional demand for goods and services.
Additionally, around 150 permanent manufacturing jobs as well as jobs installing and servicing solar equipment will also be created.
Conservative estimates provided by AEP show customers will save $218M compared to market forecasts over the 20-year project life.
Under a proposed Green Tariff, customers could purchase renewable energy credits and offset the environmental impact of their electricity use with these local renewable resources at a low fixed rate. A 1,000kwh/month user would pay just an additional $8.50/month to offset their entire monthly carbon footprint with Ohio solar.
Once the projects begin operation, they will create tax advantages for the state of Ohio. Construction activity will generate additional tax revenue for various local communities.
There will also be an increase in annual tax revenue from continuing operations each year for the state of Ohio, as well as an annual increase for the various localities within Ohio.
Price advantage and rate stability
Large-scale development of Ohio renewable energy projects can help reduce congestion costs and transmission rates and will help reverse the trend that has led Ohio to import power, keeping energy dollars in the state and creating jobs here at home.
Unique economic opportunity for Appalachian Ohio
When completed, this project will be the single largest clean energy commitment in Ohio history and will make Ohio a solar leader in the Midwest. It will not only double the amount of solar currently installed in Ohio, but it will also be roughly equal to the amount of solar that is currently online in all five states surrounding Ohio combined.
It is anticipated that solar supply chain partners attracted by this project could also serve a broad portion of the eastern USA (Middle Atlantic, Mid-West and Central Appalachia) taking advantage of the distribution logistics provided by the excellent highway and rail systems serving the area, and most particularly the Ohio River and the Inland Waterways System.
Opportunity for local veterans
The agreement gives preference for manufacturing and construction jobs to Ohio’s military veterans, who have sacrificed greatly for our country.
Veteran’s make up a disproportionate share of the population in Rural America with veterans in rural counties in the U.S being nearly 31%, far more than their share of the general population, which is approximately 25%.
A proud energy legacy for Appalachian Ohio
Ohio’s has a proud legacy of powering the country. As the energy economy shifts from coal to cheaper, cleaner energy sources, investments like AEP’s solar project will ensure leadership in the booming clean energy economy.
There’s no population in the United States that has worked harder to provide energy to this country than the people of Appalachia. As Ohio moves toward a clean energy economy, Appalachia should not be left behind.
Realizing Community Benefits
Improving the standard of living
The growing tax revenue from these projects can help improve the standard of living through health, education, and infrastructure improvements.
CDC reports that more than 10% of nationwide opioid-related drug overdose deaths occur in Ohio, and increased state and local taxes resulting from the projects can help reduce the stress this puts on limited resources in fields including public health, social services, addiction treatment, and law enforcement.
Moving to cleaner and healthier sources of energy will reduce safety risks and worker injuries.
Health and environmental benefits
As the nation transitions to cleaner and healthier sources of energy, this solar initiative can reinvigorate Ohio’s clean energy economy while reducing climate-changing pollution. According to a new federal report, climate change will increase road maintenance costs by $6 billion annually in the Midwest, and cost around the region around $9.5 billion from premature mortality and lost work hours by 2050. In addition bringing jobs and cheaper energy to Ohio, renewable energy projects will help deliver a wide range of public health and climate benefits to the region.