Amazon invests in two more Ohio solar projects

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solar panels with cloud in the background

Amazon is behind two new solar projects in Ohio. The company announced April 19 that it’s building solar projects in Allen, Auglaize and Licking counties.

The new projects, Birch, in Allen and Auglaize, and Union Ridge, in Licking, will account for more than 400 megawatts of energy in the state.

The company is also supporting nine other solar projects and one wind project in Ohio.

The company is buying more than 1,000 megawatts of power from: Hillcrest, in Brown County; Nestlewood, in Brown and Clermont counties; Highland, in Highland County; Yellowbud, in Ross County; Union, in Union County; Ross County, in Ross County; Dodson Creek, in Highland County; Great Bear, in Clermont County; and Stone Branch in Adams County.

Amazon is the off-taker for all the capacity for the Hillcrest, Nestlewood and Highland projects. Amazon is also buying 100 megawatts of power from the Timber Road wind farm in Paulding County.

Amazon is one of more than 30 companies that pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. To get there, it’s investing heavily in renewable energy. The company has 206 renewable energy projects worldwide, including 71 utility-scale solar and wind projects.

It’s also doing what it can to protect its investments. Amazon recently submitted testimony in opposition of Ohio Senate Bill 52.

The legislation would set up a local referendum process on utility-scale wind and solar farm certificates before the projects go before the Ohio Power Siting Board. Currently the permitting process includes a public hearing for local input, but the entire process takes place at the state level through the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The utility-scale solar industry says SB 52 and its companion legislation, Ohio House Bill 118, would jeopardize the state’s fledgling solar industry. Supporters of the bills say locals need the power to decide if they want large scale wind and solar projects in their communities. 

Amazon’s Sarah Sheehan, senior manager of AWS Public Policy, wrote in her testimony that permitting for renewable energy projects should continue to take place at the state level. 

“Establishing a formal referendum process will create insurmountable uncertainty into the renewables market, effectively halting projects altogether,” she wrote. “Given Amazon’s commitment to the Climate Pledge and renewable energy as a whole, the uncertain market that SB 52 creates threatens the competitive business environment in the state.”

Amazon employs 41,000 people in Ohio, and is home to several fulfillment centers and data centers. 

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