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Environment & Energy

State Regulators Deny AEP's Solar Power Initiative

photo of solar panels
AEP faces another roadblock in developing renewable energy.

State regulators have denied AEP’s plan to charge ratepayers a fee for what would be the largest solar project in Ohio.

The decision came down to whether electric customers needed the power plant in order to justify the additional cost to electric bills.

AEP proposed guaranteeing the purchase of solar power from two plants in Highland County, currently in development.

But the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled against the proposal, saying AEP did not prove it was needed in order to add a new 28 cent monthly fee for the average ratepayer.

AEP argued that the plant was needed for fuel diversity, carbon reduction, and economic development in Appalachia. The utility company said it's disappointed in the ruling and that it is now evaluating other options for developing renewable energy.

The PUCO noted that the solar plant could seek renewable credits from the $20 million pot created through the latest energy bill, which also bailed out nuclear and rolled back renewable energy standards.