Energy Works and Finance Authority partner to offer green energy financing

Two local programs are working together to promote sustainability by offering low-interest loans to Franklin County businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments for green energy upgrades. Franklin County Commissioners established Energy Works in 2015 to help keep Columbus green and attract new businesses. The Commissioners plan to commit $1.5 million annually for five years for energy upgrades to aging buildings as well as other green energy projects. The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority’s Energy Loan Fund is an economic development tool providing financing for energy efficiency improvements. The Finance Authority uses funds from Energy Works as well as its own funds to provide low-interest loans ranging from $200,000 to $6 million for projects such as PNC Plaza’s (see our March 17, 2016 blog post) and Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s energy upgrades.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Sustainability

Hudson considers adding solar panels to its electricity provider portfolio

The City of Hudson already “has solar panels on city-owned property . . . but could have a much larger solar presence” if a proposed project is finalized, the Hudson Hub-Times reports. Hudson’s electrical power consultant shared with City Council “a possible new solar project” that the “city could take part in to help with high peak energy days,” according to the article. John Courtney of Courtney & Associates, Hudson’s electric system consultant for Hudson Public Power (HPP), said a developer “could build and operate a Behind-The-Meter solar project for a municipality.” The city would pay only for the electrical power produced and “delivered to the city’s power grid.” Council member Casey Weinstein called the project “a great opportunity,” saying the city would “deliver power savings to HPP customers” while utilizing property “not suited for other development and contributing to keeping our air cleaner for our families.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission

Cuyahoga County joins Compact of Mayors to combat climate change

Cuyahoga County has joined “the world’s largest cooperative effort among local government leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, track progress, and prepare for the impacts of climate change,” Cleveland.com reports. Cleveland is one of 140 cities in the United States to join the Compact of Mayors, which “includes 658 cities worldwide,” according to the article. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said, “[w]e must do all we can to protect the health of the citizens of our county, both today and into the future.” Over the next six months, Cuyahoga County will “measure in detail the greenhouse gases that come out of the county ‘and work with partner agencies and governments including the City of Cleveland to set greenhouse gas reduction levels, strategies to achieve the goals and ways for our local region to deal with the issues that Climate Change presents to us,’” said Mike Foley, the county’s Director of Sustainability director. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Sustainability

Kent State investing $50 million in energy efficiency upgrades

Across all eight Kent State campuses, the university has invested “roughly $50 million so far” on energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements, KentWired.com reports. The upgrades include “retrofitting lighting, replacing air handlers and installing energy efficient utility devices as well as utilizing renewable energy where possible,” according to the article. Michael Bruder, executive director of facilities planning and design, said the upgrades will pay for themselves through energy savings. “The money that we would have spent for energy that we save every year pays off a loan to do that work with the contractor. After that loan is paid off, we just continue to have those energy savings,” Bruder said. Kent State previously installed a solar system on the field house roof. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar

Plans for three large solar farms in Ohio would add 400 MW of solar power

Ohio’s solar-generation capacity may soon see a drastic increase, as two companies have proposed three new solar projects, Columbus Business First reports. Currently, the largest solar array in Ohio is the 20-MW Bowling Green Solar Facility that began operations in January 2017 (see our February 13, 2017 blog post). However, Invenergy Renewables and Blue Planet Renewable Energy are looking to change that. Invenergy Renewables “wants to build a 150-megawatt solar-powered electric generation facility” in Hardin County as well as a 125-megawatt solar farm in Vinton County. Invenergy “is pivoting to solar” in part due to “restrictive regulations against wind power” in the state (see our July 5, 2017 blog post). Blue Planet Renewable Energy has proposed a “125-megawatt solar array in Brown County.” The three proposed solar project would “add an additional 400 megawatts of solar” capacity to Ohio’s current approximate “172 megawatts from 2,260 solar installations.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

Camp Perry wind turbine project “no longer moving forward”

Plans for a wind turbine at Camp Perry have been dropped in response to a lawsuit from two bird conservancy groups, the News Herald reports. Originally proposed in 2012, the $1.5-million wind turbine project was already halted once when the American Bird Conservatory and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory sent notice that they would file a lawsuit unless the military ceased its plans for the project. Last year, the Ohio Air National Guard then revived the project.
 
Now, however, the American Bird Conservatory and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court (see our March 20, 2017 blog post), arguing that “the project violated the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws.” The National Guard Bureau then responded to the lawsuit in June, informing the groups that the Air National Guard will “no longer be pursuing the construction of the turbine.” The conservancy groups “subsequently agreed to drop the lawsuit.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Closing nuclear plants may cause carbon emissions to rise

The abundant supply of inexpensive natural gas has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade, but that trend could reverse as nuclear plants are pushed into retirement, The New York Times reports. The gas boom has “driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants” out of business, “a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016,” according to the article. However, nuclear power plants, which nationwide supply “one-fifth of the country’s electricity without generating any planet-warming greenhouses gases,” are having trouble competing with low-cost natural gas power plants. Six nuclear plants “have announced that they will close between now and 2025”; together, those plants generated “nearly 60 million megawatt-hours of electricity last year, more than all of America’s solar panels combined.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Transmission

Ohio University will join national coalition committed to Paris Agreement actions

After President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Ohio University (OU) announced the school “will join a national coalition committed to fighting climate change,” The Post reports. The initiative “aligns with the values and actions reflected in the Paris Agreement, a global effort to stop temperatures from rising two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels,” according to the article. OU president Duane Nellis said in a press release, “Ohio University chooses to lead by example by working toward a sustainable future in every capacity we can.” For more, read the full article and press release.  

Environmental

Greenworks offering PACE financing for energy upgrades to Ohio businesses

Connecticut-based finance company Greenworks Lending is expanding into Ohio to offer commercial building owners Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing for energy upgrades, Cleveland.com reports. Aaron Kraus, director of market activation for Greenworks, said PACE is “very low-cost capital over a length of time that you would not be able to get in any other manner” because loans are repaid through assessments added to property taxes. Greenworks is “looking for owners of medium and small buildings who want to cut their energy bills” without having to make a down payment, according to the article. The company’s first financing project in the Greater Cleveland area is the “$82,500 energy-efficient ‘cool roof’” on the headquarters for Mammana Custom Woodworking. Bricker & Eckler served as PACE counsel for the project. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

Ohio House removes wind setback compromise from proposed state budget

The Ohio House of Representatives has dropped a proposed reversal of stricter wind turbine setback requirements from the state budget bill, nawindpower.com reports. The setback limits were increased to 1,125 ft. from the property lines of the nearest adjacent property in 2014 (see our June 18, 2014 blog post), making them “among the country’s most restrictive,” according to the article. Andrew Gohn, eastern region policy director for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said, “House lawmakers . . . turned away economic growth by ignoring the business community’s plea to make Ohio attractive for companies wishing to power their facilities with renewable energy.” A recent AWEA study showed Ohio could gain $2 billion in capital investments and thousands of jobs by reversing the stricter limits (see our June 7, 2017 blog post). For more, read the full article

 

Renewable Energy, Wind
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