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Bowling Green solar field already paying off
The 20-megawatt (MW) solar field that recently went online in Bowling Green (see our February 13, 2017 blog post) is “paying off” and “really contributing to Bowling Green’s economy,” according to city Utilities Director Brian O’Connell in a recent BG Falcon Media article. The field will reach the goal of producing up to 20 MW soon, O’Connell said; it has already come close, as Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards reported to city council that recently “the field powered out 19.6 MW.” O’Connell said the “power coming from the panels is already commercial” and will be “especially useful in the summer, when there’s a lot of sunlight and many people are cranking on their air conditioners.” Assistant Utilities Director Daril Stockburger said “the goal for the future is to get Bowling Green’s energy from renewable sources up to 38 percent.” For more, read the full article.
North America’s “first freshwater offshore wind project” files with Ohio Siting Board
Icebreaker Windpower Inc. “formally filed applications with the Ohio Power Siting Board for the Project Icebreaker wind farm” project to install six wind turbines off the shore of Lake Erie, nawindpower.com reports. The project was originally developed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), which “teamed up with Norway-based Fred. Olsen Renewables” in 2015 (see our December 17, 2015 blog post); Fred. Olsen Renewables’ U.S. subsidiary “established Icebreaker Windpower Inc., the owner, developer and operator of the project.” The 20.7-megawatt (MW) project “would comprise six 3.45 MW wind turbines,” submerged cables, and a substation (see our April 4, 2016 blog post). Icebreaker Windpower’s application states that “two-thirds of the project’s output has already been sold to CPP [Cleveland Public Power] under a long-term power purchase agreement,” with the remaining power to be “delivered to the grid” operated by regional transmission organization PJM Interconnection. For more, read the full article.
Ohio voters oppose utility re-regulation, want to keep energy choice
While Ohio’s “traditional monopoly power companies” lobby state lawmakers to “return to a fully regulated system,” a recent poll shows a majority of voters are opposed to changing from a competitive market to one with less choice, Cleveland.com reports. Fallon Research and Communications polled “more than 800 Ohio voters” in January 2017, and found that “[m]ore than 91 percent would oppose any law change allowing FirstEnergy or Columbus-based AEP to build new power plants and raise monthly rates to pay for them,” according to the article. In addition, “[n]early 79 percent would oppose any legislation that did away with a customer’s choice to shop for power suppliers.” American Electric Power (AEP), FirstEnergy and Dayton Power & Light “have already been talking about ‘re-structuring’” as state legislators “consider changing Ohio’s 16-year embrace of competition.” For more, read the full article.
Bowling Green 20-MW solar project, largest in state, now online
American Municipal Power (AMP) recently announced that the 20-megawatt (MW) Bowling Green Solar Facility, “the largest solar installation in the State of Ohio” (see our September 21, 2016 blog post), began commercial operation in January 2017. The facility is made up of “more than 85,000 modules” that rotate to follow the path of the sun to maximize production. According to AMP’s Executive Vice President of Power Supply and Operations, the project will help “diversify AMP’s member power supply portfolios” and “reduce transmission costs and meet peaking needs.” For more, read AMP’s full press release.
DP&L agreement would dump coal plants and develop renewable projects
Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) “has filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a settlement to its electric security plan (ESP) that would end its ownership in 2,093 MW of coal-fired generation and bring more renewable energy to Ohio,” nawindpower.com reports. The six-year settlement was reached “after months of intense negotiation,” according to the Sierra Club, which has also agreed to sign on to the settlement. The agreement would “retire the Killen and Stuart coal plants in June 2018” with DP&L committed to beginning a “sales process for its ownership shares” in three other coal plants. The utility also commits to developing “at least 300 MW of solar and wind energy projects in Ohio no later than 2022” and contributing “$565,000 annually to help DP&L low-income electricity consumers reduce their energy usage.” Additionally, DP&L will invest $35 million in the first year to deploy smart grid initiatives. For more, read the full article.
PUCO approves AEP-Ohio’s plan for energy efficiency programs
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently “adopted an agreement to allow AEP-Ohio to continue and expand its energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs through 2020,” according to a PUCO press release. AEP-Ohio “will offer a variety of programs” to help both residential and commercial customers reduce their energy demand; programs include “efficient product rebates and incentives, appliance recycling programs, in-home energy audits, home weatherization assistance, and various educational and training programs.” The PUCO is responsible for evaluating utilities’ “energy efficiency and peak demand portfolio programs, which must be cost-effective in reducing energy usage or peak demand consistent with state policy.” For more, read the full press release.
OMA Energy Guide details five game-changing Ohio energy projects
The Ohio Manufacturers' Association recently released a report on what it considers to be the top five energy projects currently under development in Ohio, including a look at how each project impacts Ohio energy consumers' bottom lines. These projects represent more than $30 billion in investment over the past five years, and have afforded Ohio residents lower energy prices.
Wind industry looks to Ohio legislature for its future in the state
Ohio has the potential to generate wind energy “on a large scale,” but the state “lacks a rulebook that allows developers to do just that,” Cleveland.com reports. When the Ohio General Assembly passed stricter wind turbine setback requirements in 2014 (see our June 18, 2014 blog post), industry advocates said it placed Ohio “at a disadvantage to neighboring states” with more accommodating standards, according to the article. Wind developers are “hoping to persuade state lawmakers” to return to the standards that were in place before the 2014 change, which would increase the number of turbines allowed to be built for any newly approved projects. Amazon, which purchases electricity from a wind farm in Paulding County built under the old setback rules, has expressed support for a reversion to the old setback rules to allow for more wind development in the state (see our November 18, 2016 blog post). A “larger debate on energy policy” is expected in the state legislature this year, but it’s not clear whether wind turbine setback rules will be included in that discussion. For more, read the full article.
AEP, FirstEnergy have different strategies for meeting renewable energy requirements
Since Governor John Kasich vetoed Substitute House Bill 554, causing Ohio’s renewable energy standards to resume (see our January 12, 2017 blog post), “FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron will be required to boost the percentage of renewable energy it distributes to retail customers,” Cleveland.com reports. Doug Colafella, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy, said the utility “will likely buy renewable energy credits (RECs) and solar renewable credits (SRECs) in the fall to meet the mandate,” according to the article. While RECs and SRECs “do not represent actual purchases of electricity,” they “offset the cost of investments in renewable energy made by others.” American Electric Power (AEP) had previously announced plans to develop 500 megawatts (MW) of wind power and 400 MW of solar in Ohio (see our May 24, 2016 blog post), and the company “does not expect any problem meeting the renewable energy mandates.” For more, read the full article.
Contaminated Newark site will transform into solar energy field
An agreement with American Electric Power OnSite Partners will “transform a contaminated East Main Street site” in Newark, Ohio, into a 3,312-solar module energy field, the Newark Advocate reports. The city owns the land, but AEP Onsite Partners “will own the facility and sell electricity back to the city,” according to the article. The electricity generated will supply “about 30 percent of the power needs for the city’s adjacent wastewater treatment plant.” Dovetail Solar “will design and install the equipment”; Dovetail President Al Frasz said due to the cost of solar manufacturing decreasing so much over the past several years, “[w]e can get more energy in the same square footage, which helps the economics.” Newark Development Director Mark Mauter said due to the serious limitations on what the city can do with the contaminated site, the solar field is the “best possible outcome,” and because AEP will own the equipment, “[t]here’s no risk of taxpayers’ dollars.” For more, read the full article.