Toyota inks VPPA on repurposed Kentucky coal mine
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Toyota inks VPPA on repurposed Kentucky coal mine

Toyota Sign on exterior of dealership

Toyota North America signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Savion, and local developer Edelen Renewables, on a coal mine set to be repurposed into a solar farm.

Toyota agreed to offtake 100MW of electricity at the Martin County Solar Project, which has an expansion potential of up to 200MW.

The solar project received a $231 million investment for construction, as well as $600,000 in tax incentives from the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA).

Savion will be repurposing the Martiki coal mine, a brownfield site on the West Virginia and Kentucky border, into a solar farm. The Martin County coal mine was closed in the 1990s and was cleared for construction in 2017. The project is in the final stages of development and is expected to be fully operational in 2024.

"The Martin County Solar Project in Kentucky is really special as an example of how renewable energy VPPAs can bring new opportunities to former coal and energy communities and will help Toyota achieve our goal of increasing purchased renewable electricity to 45% or more of our total purchased electricity by 2025," said David Absher, senior manager of environmental sustainability at Toyota Motor North America.

The leading car manufacturer also signed a VPPA to offtake 80MW on a 100MW solar project in Mississippi with Duke Energy in November last year (PFR, 11/23/22).

Kentucky is home to Toyota's largest manufacturing plant in the world, and once completed, Savion's Martin County Solar Project will be the largest in Kentucky and the first coal-to-solar engineering feat in the US.

On the project, Savion partnered with Edelen Renewables, a Kentucky-based renewable developer. Adam Edelen, founder of the firm, previously worked in Kentucky government as an auditor and manages the project's local development.

In September 2022, Edelen Renewables launched a partnership with Arcadia and American Farmland Trust for the Farmers Powering Communities project. The decade-long project will supply 500MW of solar power in US farming communities. Earlier this week, Aggreko, power generation and equipment supplier, agreed to finance the project for an estimated $1 billion.

Savion, founded in 2019, is a Missouri-based utility-scale solar and energy storage developer with a 19.6GW pipeline. In December 2021, Shell New Energies purchased 100% of Savion (PFR, 12/14/21).

In April, Savion signed a PPA with Indian Michigan Power for Savion's first Indiana Solar project, the Elkhart County Solar Project, with a projected 100MWac solar energy generation facility (PFR, 4/6).

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