Fox Squirrel Solar Phase 1 marks new era in renewable energy for Ohio

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EDF Renewables North America and Enbridge Inc, a major North American energy infrastructure company, announced the opening and commencement of commercial operations for Fox Squirrel Solar Phase 1, alongside over 100 guests. This event marks a significant milestone in the rollout of one of the largest utility-scale solar projects east of the Mississippi River. Upon full completion by the end of 2024, the 577 MWac project will drastically increase the renewable energy capacity available to the U.S. grid.

Located in Ohio, Fox Squirrel Solar Phase 1 alone consists of a substantial 150 MWac capacity, directly supporting the local and regional energy demands which are projected to double by 2028. Kate O’Hair, Senior Vice President for Onshore Development at EDF Renewables, highlighted the project’s impact: “With Fox Squirrel Solar Phase 1 now supplying renewable power to the PJM grid, this project not only represents a substantial financial commitment but also highlights the remarkable collaboration between our team, the county, and the local community.”

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Strategic Partnerships Boosting Renewable Energy Integration

During the launch event, it was announced that Amazon has entered into power purchase agreements for the entire generation capacity of the project. This move aligns with Amazon’s goal to match all electricity used in its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030, and supports the broader transition to sustainable energy sources across corporate America.

Tom Carbone, Vice President of Power Business Development at Enbridge, expressed pride in the project, noting its role in supporting Amazon’s net-zero targets and enhancing local economic benefits through job creation and infrastructure development. “Fox Squirrel Solar is a key part of Enbridge’s commitment to the energy transition,” Carbone said.

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Economic and Community Impact

The project has significantly boosted local employment, with nearly 400 skilled workers involved, and numbers peaking at 650 during the height of Phase 1 construction. Blattner, the project’s EPC contractor, alongside local labor organizations like IBEW Local 683 and Ohio Laborers’ District Council, have praised the project for its role in energizing the community and providing high-quality jobs.

Pat Hook, Business Manager of IBEW Local 683, commented on the broader impact: “Ohio is at the forefront of an energy revolution, and Fox Squirrel Solar is a shining example of where we are going.” This sentiment was echoed by Ralph Cole of the Ohio Laborers’ District Council, who noted the project’s contribution to sustainable infrastructure development in Ohio.

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Long-Term Benefits and Sustainability

Fox Squirrel Solar, with its 1.4 million panels and 159 inverters, is not only the largest onshore renewable energy project by EDF Renewables North America but also a cornerstone for future energy solutions in the region. The project is designed to meet growing energy demands sustainably and support the state’s economic growth by attracting more business due to its enhanced clean energy infrastructure.

Steve Stivers, President & CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, supported the project’s alignment with Ohio’s energy strategies, emphasizing the need for an “all-of-the-above” approach to meet the state’s rapidly growing energy needs.

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