U.S. Energy storage surpasses 1,000 MWh deployed, no longer “nascent”

After reaching a significant milestone in 2017, with more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) now deployed, the U.S. energy storage market is poised for a breakout in 2018, nawindpower.com reports. The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year-in-Review, released by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and GTM Research, forecasts the deployment of an additional 1,000 MWh this year. Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said, “[w]e’re going to have to strike the word ‘nascent’ from our vocabularies when describing the U.S. energy storage market.” Manghani cited falling costs and favorable policies as “core drivers of the market’s breakout in 2018.” A recent ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) intended to remove barriers to market entry that new technologies such as energy storage faced under previous market rules (see our March 8, 2018 blog post). For more, read the full article


Competing proposals: ease wind energy industry restrictions, or add more hurdles?

The future of wind energy development in Ohio could depend on which of two current proposals for changing industry requirements prevails, The Morning Journal reports. Development of new, large-scale wind projects have stalled in the state since HB 483, which increased setback guidelines for turbines, became law in 2014 (see our June 18, 2014 blog post). Wind-energy backers are proposing new legislation (see our February 27, 2018 blog post) that would allow counties to permit construction of wind turbines closer to property lines. However, a proposal before a state board that regulates wind farm sites seeks to force wind developers to obtain approval from more property owners before building turbines—adding yet another hurdle for any new projects. The American Wind Energy Association called that proposal “a death sentence” for Ohio’s future wind-energy development. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

Landfill-based solar farm will reduce Cuyahoga County’s energy costs

Construction is set to begin April 15th on a new 4-megawatt (MW) solar farm built on a portion of a former Brooklyn, Ohio landfill—the project will save Cuyahoga County about $3 million in power costs over 25 years, Cleveland.com reports. Columbus-based IGS Solar will use approximately 17 acres of the closed landfill to construct the 35,000-panel solar array. IGS contracted with Perrysburg-based First Solar to provide the needed panels. Further, the panels themselves will be mounted on a racking system developed and manufactured by Cincinnati-based RBI Solar. Mike Foley, Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director, estimated that electricity should be flowing by mid-summer over a new transmission line currently being installed by Cleveland Public Power. IGS estimates the solar farm will produce about 5 million kilowatt-hours annually—enough to power 500 homes. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission

FirstEnergy will invest over $775M to bolster grid reliability in Ohio, Pennsylvania

Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has announced plans to invest over $775 million in 2018 on distribution, transmission and infrastructure projects, Crain’s Cleveland reports. In December 2017, the company filed plans with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to modernize its electric grid over the course of the next three years (see our December 27, 2017 blog post). The major investments will include rebuilding transmission lines, inspecting and replacing utility poles, replacing underground circuits, and adding new equipment in substations. This $775 million investment by FirstEnergy is on top of the already invested $742 million by the company between 2004 and 2016. For more, read the full article


Study says 100% global renewable energy with stable grid is possible

There are methods that could make renewable energy reliable enough “to power at least 139 countries,” a new study by researchers in the United States and Denmark finds, according to a recent nawindpower.com article. Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark, propose ways to overcome the inconsistencies of wind, water and solar power and the “continuously fluctuating demand for energy” in the paper recently published in Renewable Energy, according to the article. The paper “builds on a previous study by Jacobson and colleagues that examined the ability of the grid to stay stable in the 48 contiguous states.” The new research includes excess energy-generation storage methods and “predictions of energy demands over time.” Computational modeling programs predicted future weather patterns and how much renewable energy could be produced from weather-related energy sources; the group was then able to predict how well more stable sources such as geothermal and hydroelectric power plants “could balance out the fluctuating energy to meet demands.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability, Wind

FERC votes to remove barriers to “participation of electric storage resources” by RTOs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said its recently released final rule on electric storage participation will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale markets,” nawindpower.com reports. The FERC “voted to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs),” according to the article. The commission noted in a November 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that “market rules designed for traditional generation resources can create barriers to entry for emerging technologies such as electric storage resources.” The final rule helps to remove those barriers by requiring each RTO “to revise its tariff to establish a participation model for electric storage resources that consist of market rules that properly recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources.” For more, read the full article.


Record numbers in 2017 show clean energy is good for American economy

The growth of sustainable energy industries in 2017 “contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation and the expansion of the American economy,” according to findings in the sixth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, nawindpower.com reports. The factbook is the result of “a comprehensive review of energy statistics” by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), according to the article. The 2018 edition found that renewable deployment “grew at a near-record pace” last year, with wind, solar and hydropower driving renewable generation “up from 15% to 18% of the total electricity mix in one year.” The energy efficiency sector “was the largest single employer within the sustainable energy sectors” with nearly 2.2 million jobs. The United States “remains globally competitive for energy-intensive industries, thanks to low industrial power prices,” and corporations are increasingly demanding clean energy and investing in energy efficiency. For more, read the full article or click here to read the full factbook. 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability, Wind

State approves two “huge solar energy farms” that will be largest in Ohio

The Ohio Power Siting Board recently approved two projects that when completed will become “the largest solar farms in the state,” Columbus Business First reports. Together, the two solar-powered electric plants will generate 275 megawatts (MW) of energy, according to the article. Blue Planet Renewable Energy got approval to construct its 125-MW Hillcrest Solar I farm on 1,100 acres east of Cincinnati. The company “estimates that it will add 644 construction jobs and $43.3 million in earnings during construction and create 17 jobs and $1 million a year in earnings during operations.” Hardin Solar Energy received approval “to build a 150-megawatt energy plant” near Bowling Green. Hardin Solar “estimates the project will create 768 jobs that will generate $45.6 million in earnings during construction, and 13 long-term jobs that will generate $758,000 in annual earnings during operation.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

Lawmaker says returning to former wind turbine setbacks will spur investment in Ohio

The debate over setback requirements for wind turbines in Ohio continues (see our August 23, 2016 blog post), this time with Senate Bill 328 (SB 328) sponsored by Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), which would “ease the restrictions for potential wind development,” the Springfield News-Sun reports. Dolan said the 2014 legislation (see our June 18, 2014 blog post) that increased setback requirements has “made it nearly impossible for wind farm developers to operate in the state,” according to the article. If approved, SB 328 “would determine setback requirements based on the height of the turbine and the length of the turbine’s blades.” Dolan pointed out that “no new wind farm applications have been filed with the state since the setback increase in 2014,” and he said Ohio “is losing out on millions in investment going to other states.” Andrew Gohn, eastern regional policy director for the American Wind Energy Association, said rolling back the 2014 legislation “will unleash Ohio business opportunities for wind power and the Fortune 500 companies who want to buy it.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

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

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