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AEP Urges PUCO To Approve Large Solar Farm

A photo of solar panels
State regulators are holding hearings on what could be the largest solar farm in the state.

State regulators are holding hearings on what could be the largest solar farm in the state. Supporters say the argument is based on proving the state needs these renewable projects. 

AEP is touting its solar farm project in Highland County as a way to create thousands of jobs in Appalachia and ramp up renewable energy in Ohio.

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

But Evan Blumer with the Appalachian Ohio Solar Supply Chain Initiative says it’s not only a question of energy supply, but 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,'" Blumer said.

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.