Ohio State University joins coalition dedicated to achieving climate change

The Ohio State University has joined “the newly launched University Climate Change Coalition,” a group that has “committed to mobilize resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses,” Cleveland.com reports. The “13 leading research universities” in the coalition “have pledged to reduce their institutions’ carbon footprints,” according to the article. Additionally, goals for each member “include convening a climate-change forum to bring together community and business leaders, elected officials and others.” Ohio State has planned a “two-day, climate-change awareness event on May 18 and 19 to showcase research and feature a community technology and science festival.” The university’s public-private energy management agreement (see our April 12, 2017 blog post) “includes a commitment to modernize the 485 buildings on the Columbus campus.” For more, read the full article

Environmental

PUCO Nominating Council recommends candidates for commissioner seat

The 12-member Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council recently recommended four individuals as candidates to fill the position of commissioner for a five-year term beginning April 11, 2018, The Sunbury News reports. The council recommended Ronald Russo, Stephen R. Serraino, M. Beth Trombold, and David W. Wade to Governor John R. Kasich for consideration. The PUCO is “the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service,” whose role is “to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices,” the article reports. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Ohio State Energy Partners presents first energy conservation projects

A $3.4-million campus lighting project and a $2.3-million HVAC upgrade for Dreese Laboratory are the first planned energy conservation proposals as part of The Ohio State University’s $1-billion private energy-management deal (see our April 12, 2017 blog post), The Lantern reports. Ohio State Energy Partners “will upgrade existing lighting to LEDs in 51 Columbus campus buildings” including Ohio Stadium, University Hall and Independence Hall, according to the article. Dreese Laboratory upgrades include “enhancing the HVAC control system, insulating steam valves and adding a heat recovery chiller, which captures heat from the existing system that can be used for other purposes.” Those upgrades will “reduce energy consumption in the building by 37 percent.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency

Duke Energy settlement will fund energy efficiency financing for consumers

A new program will allow Ohio residential Duke Energy service customers to apply for interest-free loans for energy efficiency upgrades, Cincinnati.com reports. As part of Duke Energy’s $80 million settlement in an overbilling dispute, the utility has awarded a $500,000 grant to energy analytics firm EmpowerSaves and housing nonprofit Cincinnati Development for the program. Officials “hope to lend out the $500,000 to roughly 200 to 250 homeowners or landlords to each make upwards of $3,500 worth of energy improvements” including insulation and smart thermostats, according to the article. Customers will pay back the loans “over three to five years with the savings from the upgrades.” As the money is paid back, it would be loaned out again. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities

Monroeville Solar Park begins commercial operation

Construction is completed on the Monroeville Solar Park (see our December 5, 2017 blog post), and commercial power production began December 28, 2017, the Norwalk Reflector reports. The 4-megawatt (MW) field “will offset about 10 percent of the village’s annual kilowatt hour (energy) purchases,” according to the article. Construction was completed ahead of schedule; weekly work by students and instructors from the EHOVE Career Center-Electrical Program “shaved time from the construction schedule with the end result [of] the project being commissioned at the end of 2017.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

New submetering bill doesn’t do enough to protect consumers, opponents say

A new bill that would limit how much submetering companies could charge consumers “was described as an improvement . . . but still a bad deal” in testimony before the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee in a recent hearing, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Senate Bill 157’s main sponsor, Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) “wants to find a middle ground” that allows submeter companies to continue to exist, while reducing price markups and increasing disclosure to consumers. Jeff Jacobson, speaking on behalf of the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, said the measure “remains inadequate for protecting Ohioans”; he “pointed out what he considers flaws” in the bill, “including a customer-complaint process” that is too cumbersome. American Electric Power vice president of external affairs Tom Froehle said submetering companies “are not subject to the detailed rules imposed on utility companies” regarding delivery of service and other requirements. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous, Transmission

Energy efficiency company says its services can save Youngstown millions

Could energy efficiency savings cover a projected $2.5 million to $3 million budget shortfall for the city of Youngstown? Energy Management Services LLC thinks so; the company’s energy engineer, Jennifer Stofko, emailed city officials asking for a meeting to discuss how Energy Management could “potentially save the city $2.5 million,” according to a recent article in The Vindicator. Carl Avers, a consultant for Energy Management, said “the company encourages the use of LED lighting and teaches building owners how to better manage energy.” Avers said, “[w]e install more-efficient motors, more-efficient fans and chillers, and where they are not on a district steam system, we put in more-efficient boilers.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency

Ohio tops list of states for carbon emissions reduction from 2005 to 2015

Despite the back-and-forth legislative debate over Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards (see our October 3, 2016 blog post), the state cut 50 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year over a ten-year period, more than any other state, Crain’s Cleveland reports. That reduction is largely a result of utility companies closing coal-fired power plants, according to the article. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has “closed 10 plants since 2010”; company spokesperson Jennifer Young said, “[i]n Ohio alone, we have reduced our carbon emissions from 2005 by 71%, and almost all of that is from plant retirements.” Information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows Ohio’s “annual carbon output for the period dropped from its peak of 132.6 million metric tons in 2005 to 82.6 million metric tons in 2015.” For more, read the full article

Environmental

SOPEC proposal for carbon tax would fund solar development

A Southeast Ohio Public Energy Commission (SOPEC) official recently presented Athens City Council with proposed legislation “to help the city achieve its energy goals,” including a carbon tax to fund solar development, The Athens News reports. Eddie Smith, SOPEC’s operations coordinator, explained the major goals of the Energy Action Plan: a 20-percent reduction in residential energy consumption, a 20-percent increase “in the share of residential and municipal energy consumed from renewable sources,” and a 20-percent “increase in installed solar capacity,” according to the article. A 2-mill carbon tax, “which would be charged through SOPEC’s Opt-Out Electric Aggregation program,” would fund solar development for “projects on public buildings” in Athens, including school and government buildings. The tax would cost the average Athens home between $1.60 and $1.80 per month. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar

Composites increase solar panel durability and reduce weight

High-performance solar panel developing company Armageddon Energy has introduced a “composites-intensive version of its rooftop solar panel system” that will allow rooftop systems to generate more capacity, CompositesWorld reports. The SolarClover panels replace traditional float glass with “a thin, clear polymer film of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), trademarked Tefzel, from DuPont Performance Materials,” according to the article. To eliminate aluminum in the structural backpanel, Armageddon uses a thermoplastic honeycomb panel produced by EconCore. The solar panels made with these composites are “significantly lighter in weight and considerably more robust than typical solar panels.” Armageddon CEO Mark Goldman said, “[w]ith lighter panels, rooftops can hold more panels, for greater power output.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar
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