Amazon to purchase power generated from Birch Solar project

By Sam Shriver -

COLUMBUS — Lightsource bp announced Tuesday that they’ve reached a deal to sell power produced from the Birch Solar farm to Amazon.

The 375-megawatt solar farm, proposed for portions of Allen and Auglaize Counties has yet to be approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board, a process that is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

According to a news release issued by Lightsource bp, the “facility is expected to deliver nearly 600,000-megawatt-hours annually of additional renewable energy for Amazon operations locally — equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 55,000 U.S. homes.”

“Amazon has a long-term commitment to utilize 100% renewable energy and has invested in operations infrastructure in Ohio. In just three years, the combined direct, indirect and induced effects of Amazon’s investment in our state could create thousands of new jobs for Ohioans and hundreds of millions of dollars in new regional income and GDP in Ohio,” according to a written statement attributed to Stephanie Kromer, director of energy and environmental policy at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

While Lightsource bp does have a deal with Amazon, it’s dependent on getting final approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board.

“We have submitted our permits and are looking right now to get our completeness for the permit…and then we’ll continue through the regulatory process to actually receive the permit along with the OPSB and so they are the ultimate deciders in that we have signed our power purchase agreement with Amazon for the megawatts for the project and they will be using that power with some of their local operations,” said Shanelle Montana, vice president of development for Lightsouce bp.

The purchase of the power by Amazon is seen to boost the viability of the project, although the purchase is not something that the Ohio Power Siting Board has to consider when granting or not granting a permit.

“That’s typically totally separate,” Montana said. “There’s sort of the commercial process for the project, the buying and selling of the power, and then there’s the development process, which is the regulatory permitting process, and they’re typically fairly separate … It should be completely neutral to the permitting process. It’s not a consideration within the permitting process. I’m sure they’ll be aware of it, but it’s not necessarily a condition or anything that’s related to the project.”

By Sam Shriver

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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