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AEP looking for renewables in Ohio

American Electric Power Co. Inc. is in the market for up to 350 MW of renewable energy in Ohio.

AEP Ohio, legally known as Ohio Power Co., issued requests for proposals Dec. 16 for up to 250 MW of wind capacity and up to 100 MW of solar power. The solicitation is limited to new projects in Ohio that can start commercial operation by the end of 2018. For solar, preference will be given to projects that are 10 MW or greater, hire Ohio military veterans and are sited and create permanent manufacturing jobs in the state's Appalachian region.

"[We] believe that contracted renewables offer a regulated-like risk profile with attractive returns," AEP Executive Vice President and CFO Brian Tierney said on a Nov. 1 earnings conference call, adding that the company plans to spend about $1 billion, or approximately 6% of its capital budget, on renewables during the next three years.

"When we look to the future, we believe that renewables will play an increasingly important part in the country's energy mix, regardless of what happens to the Clean Power Plan," Tierney said, referring to the embattled U.S. EPA rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. "We believe this is a channel for us to serve customers who want renewable resources and for us to earn a reasonable return doing so at relatively low risk."

At the end of 2015, AEP operating companies had long-term contracts for 2,031 MW of wind power and about 10 MW of solar capacity. In November, AEP Ohio committed to develop at least 900 MW wind and solar projects in the state over the next five years.

Proposals for the Dec. 16 solicitation are due Feb. 16, 2017. More information can be found at AEP Ohio's website.