PUCO chairman wants to “change the dialogue” on energy policy in Ohio

Asim Haque wants to “change the dialogue” about energy policy in Ohio; the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) wants the commission to focus on electricity distribution, not generation, Columbus Business First reports. The PUCO “kickstarted” the effort to making that change “with a days-long conference called PowerForward (see our March 13, 2017 blog post),” according to the article. PowerForward “is a review of new tech and regulatory innovations with an eye toward how the changes will affect the power grid. . . . the wonkish embodiment of what Haque wants the PUCO to become — to focus on how power is delivered and used by customers.” Haque “said he has made a point of reaching out to lawmakers about energy issues.” He “sees his job as not trying to influence lawmakers,” but rather “to act as an adviser who helps them see both sides of issues and peel away the layers of lobbyist speak.” For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Ohio leads Midwest in solar jobs, second overall in clean energy jobs

As the number of Americans working in clean-energy jobs approaches 600,000, Ohio and Michigan “are home to a large portion” of that workforce, The Toledo Blade reports. Ohio “leads the Midwest” in solar with 8,719 jobs, and last year “experienced a 4.6 percent growth in clean energy jobs,” according to a recently released report. The 2017 Clean Jobs Midwest report, compiled by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, shows the “Midwest added more than 30,000 clean energy jobs last year,” with 4,661 of those in Ohio, according to The Blade. While Ohio “leads the Midwest in clean energy manufacturing jobs,” the state has fallen behind in wind energy since the 2014 legislation that created “the most restrictive” turbine setback limits in the country. That restriction could be costing Ohio billions (see our June 7, 2017 blog post). Gail Parson, Environmental Entrepreneurs spokesperson Gail Parson said that “gets back to why policies matter so much, but the clean energy march is progressing.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Proposed Vinton County 125-MW solar project could generate revenue for area

Officials in Vinton County “are laying out the welcome mat” for a proposed solar farm that would generate tax revenue in addition to electricity, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Invenergy, a renewable energy company based in Chicago, “plans to build the 125-megawatt solar farm” on privately owned “reclaimed strip-mined land just outside McArthur,” according to the article. County Commissioners said the “value to Vinton County lies in the tax revenue the project would generate.” They “anticipate negotiating a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement” that would “generate $827,822 for county and local governments and the countywide school district, which would receive $389,902 of the annual total.” The proposed site of the project currently generates $11,717 in annual property taxes. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar

Akron’s Energy Special Improvement District expanded to all of Summit County

Summit County Council recently voted to “expand the Akron Energy Special Improvement District [ESID] throughout the county” to offer an incentive to organizations to “make energy-efficient improvements,” Cleveland.com reports. Businesses, local governments, and nonprofits “will be eligible to fund energy-efficient lighting upgrades, roof repairs, window repairs and other energy-efficient renovations through the Property Assessed Clean Energy program,” known as PACE, according to the article. The program allows commercial property owners to finance those improvements and repay the loans through property assessments. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro said the expansion “will create economic development opportunities that are not only energy efficient but financially beneficial for our largest cities and our smallest townships.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

Ohio offers $11M in tax credits as Amazon eyes two more facilities in state

Monroe and North Randall could be the newest Ohio locations for Amazon distribution centers, and the state is offering $11.6 million in tax credits to help make that happen, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Amazon “officially announced plans for the North Randall project” that includes a $100 million investment “to develop an 855,000-square-foot center employing 2,000 workers earning $55.4 million a year,” according to the article. Amazon would invest $30 million in the Monroe project, which is expected to create “1,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $26.7 million if the company goes ahead with the project.” The Dayton Business Journal reports that a JobsOhio spokesperson “said it will continue to work with the company” and that the combined $11.6 million tax credit from The Ohio Tax Credit Authority was “an important step.” For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Business Journal articles. 

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Project Finance

Ohio ranked 6th nationwide for distributed wind capacity

The state of Ohio “is reflecting wind-based power’s rapid and sustained growth” as the wind industry continues to add capacity nationwide, The Morning Journal reports. Wind market reports released by the U.S. Department of Energy show Ohio “ranks 6th nationwide in total wind capacity deployed in distributed applications, with 42.1 megawatts installed between 2003 and 2016,” according to the article. Ohio “installed 102 megawatts of utility-scale wind capacity — capacity from wind farms used for bulk power” in 2016. Wind energy represented “27 percent of all energy capacity additions” in America last year. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

FirstEnergy says nuclear subsidies are “crucial” for continued operation

Whether or not FirstEnergy retains ownership of the two nuclear power plants in Ohio, customer-paid subsidies are crucial to keep those plants operating, according to company president and CEO Chuck Jones, Cleveland.com reports. Jones said FirstEnergy will “continue to press Ohio lawmakers” for the legislation to provide that financial support (see our May 23, 2017 blog post), calling it “the right thing to do for the state of Ohio.” Without that Zero Emission Nuclear Resource program, Jones said “he doubted anyone could operate” the Perry and Davis-Besse plants due to competition from plants powered by natural gas, and even wind power at times, according to the article. Jones “thinks the switch particularly to gas turbine power plants could create both national security and economic development disasters,” due to a “very unsophisticated” bulk gas system that does not have the “redundancy that the bulk electric system has.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Sustainability, Transmission

Lake Erie 20.7-MW wind turbine project has formal hearing scheduled for November

The Ohio Power Siting Board has scheduled a formal public hearing on the proposed Icebreaker wind turbine project off the shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland.com reports. The board “wants to hear the public’s opinion” of the project; anyone may testify at the November 8 hearing in Cleveland City Council chambers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold an “informational open house” on September 6 at the Lakewood Women’s Club Pavilion. The DOE recently released “a preliminary environmental assessment of the project” that concludes “the project’s construction and operation will have minor or negligible impacts on the lake, on bats, migrating birds and insects,” according to the article. The $126-million demonstration project (see our February 17, 2017 blog post) is expected to employ “more than 500 people” and “pump more than $80 million into the local economy.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Icebreaker wind project “clears regulatory hurdle,” taking “major step forward”

The first freshwater wind farm “took a major step forward” to becoming reality as the Ohio Power Siting Board issued a letter saying Icebreaker Windpower Inc.’s application to build the project is now complete, CompositesWorld reports. The application for the “six-turbine, 20.7-MW demonstration project” to be located 8-10 miles northwest of Cleveland will now be processed. Dr. Lorry Wagner, president of Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), said, “[w]e are confident that our application demonstrates conclusively” that Icebreaker “will not only have minimal adverse impact on fish and wildlife but will also create jobs, boost the local and regional economy and provide a local source of clean energy.” Cleveland.com reports that the goal of the $126-million project is “to prove it can be done and can stand up to shifting lake ice, opening the door to large future developments.” For more, read the full CompositesWorld and Cleveland.com articles. 

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will install state’s largest solar array on Polaris building

JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to start construction this fall on a 20-megawatt solar array on its largest building worldwide, the McCoy Center at Polaris, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The array, which will be the “largest rooftop solar array in the state,” is part of the bank’s plans “to rely exclusively on renewable energy by 2020,” according to the article. The generating capacity of the array is “about two-thirds of the electricity needed to run the building.” Chase also plans to invest $200 billion by 2025 “to finance clean-energy projects for corporate and investor clients around the world.” Jamie Dimon, Chase’s CEO, said in a statement, “[t]his global investment leverages the firm’s resources and our people’s expertise to make our operations more energy efficient and provide clients with the resources they need to develop more sustainable products and services.” For more, read the full article

 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability
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