In October 2010, Governor Strickland and AEP announced plans for a project called Turning Point that would construct a “50 million-watt solar field on 500 acres in southeast Ohio that was once a strip mine.” The plan would involve the investment of $250 Million in Ohio and create 300 construction jobs and 300 additional jobs at the facility.
Last week Kasich’s PUCO appointees voted to kill Turning Point and the associated jobs despite the fact that PUCO’s staff had highly recommended the project be allowed to move forward.
The decision could also put another corporate expansion at risk, along with the associated jobs.
In May, Kasich’s Ohio Department of Development approved $15 Million in loans and $813,057 in tax credits and grants to Isofotón, a Spanish company intent on building a solar panel manufacturing facility in Napoleon, OH.
The company planned to invest a total of $31.2 million in construction of the plant, which would create 121 full time jobs, many for veterans. And the bulk of their expected first and second year sales were expected to come from the Turning Point project.
According to financial projections Isofotón provided to Development:
Of the Year 1 sales, 22 MW will be for the first phase Turning Point project with AEP according to the term sheet signed in June 2011, and 5 MW will fill a commitment with AMP per a Letter of Intent signed in March 2011. In 2013-2015, phases two and three of the Turning Point project will be completed (an additional 27MW) and 38 MW will be sold to others.
If Turning Point is killed, over half of Isofotón’s expected sales over the next two years will immediately evaporate.
So did Kasich’s team just not know that killing Turning Point would eliminate 600 new jobs and possibly hundreds more for companies like Isofotón? Did they not know that the bulk of the money provided to Isofotón was loans that may never be paid back if Kasich kills the primary source of their business here in Ohio?
Or is Kasich so short-sighted and politically motivated that he’s willing to throw away hundreds of new jobs and $15 Million dollars in state money to destroy business growth in Ohio just because it may, at one time, have had some connection to the former Democratic Governor?