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Electric vehicle plant to be AES Ohio’s largest customer, Honda and LG expected to invest nearly $4 billion

Honda Fit EV concept unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show
bigbend700
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Wikimedia Commons
Honda Fit EV concept unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

The Honda/LG joint venture electric vehicle plant in Fayette County is expected to be AES Ohio's largest customer. The local utility provider said in an interview with WYSO that they are currently planning how to build out the infrastructure to get ready for all that new demand—estimated to be close to 1,000 Megawatts of load growth across all of Honda's EV plants in the region.

Honda and LG are expected to invest close to $4.4 billion into the new EV plant—that investment should create more than 2000 jobs, the companies have said. A plant of that size will also require a lot of electricity.

Rob Beeler, AES Ohio's Economic Development Lead, said it’s his company’s job as the local utility to make sure enough high voltage power lines and substations exist to meet the needs of the new factory (and the development that is expected to pop up around it).

"Certainly, as our largest customer, it [the Honda/LG EV plant] will be the largest load in that region," Beeler said.

An electrical load is a part of a circuit (in this case the EV plant) that consumes power or energy.

AES Ohio has proposed to construct two new substations and expand the installation of a third to meet high load growth in the Jeffersonville, Ohio, region.
AES Ohio
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AES Ohio has proposed to construct two new substations and expand the installation of a third to meet high load growth in the Jeffersonville, Ohio, region.

Beeler said prior to Honda and LG choosing Southwest Ohio in October, AES had to assure them that they'd be able to handle all the new demand for electricity.

"We described for them where we have existing facilities, where we have existing capacity,” he said. “As well as our plans to invest in the area that would support the capacity and reliability needed to support the project and the entire region."

Beeler said the utility’s focus in the beginning of 2023 is making sure they have the infrastructure ready to supply Honda/LG with enough initial power to begin construction of the EV plant.

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.