COLUMBUS, Jan. 21, 2022 -- Today’s announcement of Intel’s plan to invest in a major semiconductor manufacturing facility in Licking County is the latest clear sign that Ohio’s growing solar energy economy is providing a strong and competitive foundation for Ohio’s future.
Intel has committed to 100% renewable energy supply by 2030 to power its global manufacturing operations, including its new facility planned for Licking County. This is the latest in a series of major investments Ohio has attracted from companies that include renewable energy purchase goals, such as Peloton, Nestle, First Solar, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
Additionally, Ohio was the first state to attract a mega battery factory to serve the growing electric vehicle market when the $2.3 billion GM/LG Chem battery manufacturing facility selected Lordstown as its home. Many large automotive companies, such as GM, have plans to buy 100% renewable energy located near their operations.
In a new video detailing how solar energy can help the state attract investments such as Intel, Nate Strum, former GROW Licking County executive director, says (3:20 mark): “Ohio continues to be a very competitive environment for site selection opportunities, but we have to make sure that we have all of the tools in the toolbox necessary to make sure we are as competitive as possible and alternative energy — access to solar energy in particular — is going to be one of those tools going forward.”
Just yesterday, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved a construction permit for the 107.7 megawatt (MW) Union Ridge Solar project located in Licking County’s Harrison Township. Additionally, the 350 MW Harvey Solar project located in Hartford Township is currently pending at the Siting Board. These two projects under development in Licking County will generate more than $4 million dollars per year in local tax revenue and bring hundreds of jobs during construction.
An economic impact report prepared by Ohio University details the $18B investment and 55,000 construction jobs the solar industry is bringing to Ohio, but projects like these are also key to attracting large employers like Intel to the state as they seek to locate new facilities in areas with abundant renewable sources of electricity.
Ohio has an existing transmission infrastructure that can support companies like Intel and the expanding solar industry, a key investment attraction tool. In fact, the same semiconductor advancements in chip manufacturing that have helped companies like Intel bring about the digital age have also enabled improvements in the solar industry – another semiconductor-based technology. Thanks to technology advancements and cost improvements, utility scale solar is now one of the most cost-effective forms of generating power and has the added benefit of doing this with zero emissions.
“Ohio’s future prosperity lies in thoughtful economic development and the solar industry looks forward to continuing to contribute to the economic growth of Ohio and to helping provide clean renewable energy to companies like Intel,” said Jake Kuss, USSEC’s Assistant Director. “Our state is extremely well positioned to capitalize on the growth sectors of today’s economy thanks to a robust well-trained labor force, geography and access to least-cost energy in the form of solar power paired with complementary resources.
“Ohio has a growing economic development cycle which includes Ohio farmers, Ohio solar panels, Ohio solar projects and now these large buyers of electricity like Intel. This cycle continues Ohio’s history of energy production and ensures that the benefits of this development remain with Ohioians,” he added.