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Two Ohio companies will be exclusive installers for Cuyahoga County Solar Co-op
Cuyahoga County Solar Co-op has selected two Ohio companies as exclusive installers: Third Sun Solar of Athens, Ohio, and YellowLite of Cleveland, Cleveland.com reports. The co-op currently has “more than 130 homeowners who have an interest in using solar power and who also have rooftops suitable for installing a solar array,” and expects that number to reach 200 by the December 31 deadline for joining, according to the article. Signing up does not commit homeowners to installing solar panels, but “means Ohio Sun will assess your home for suitability and provide a rough estimate of the cost.” Co-op partner OH SUN (Solar United Neighborhoods) “is an affiliate of the Community Power Network, which has been helping to create co-ops in several states to make it easier and cheaper to go solar.” OH SUN says co-op members can “save up to 20 percent on installation costs because of the ability to negotiate with limited installers and to take advantage of bulk purchasing.” For more, read the full article.
Ohio has high potential to reduce emissions through industrial energy efficiency
A report from the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency (AIE) shows “Ohio ranks second nationally in its potential to reduce emissions through technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP),” according to a recent Hannah Report. Lead author of the AIE report, Alexandra Rekkas, called Ohio “a shining example with huge potential savings,” saying, “Ohio could reduce carbon emissions by 10 million tons by 2030 while saving businesses $12 billion in avoided electricity costs” through industrial energy efficiency, according to the article. She cited Nissan Brake Ohio’s partnership with American Electric Power (AEP) “to install a variety of energy efficiency improvements to their facility, including compressed air, chillers and other manufacturing equipment upgrades.” Rekkas said Nissan Brake estimates they’ve saved $3.4 million since 2008 from a $1.7 million investment through the program with AEP. Hannah reports that Policy Matters Ohio also “released a report on energy efficiency, which estimates that 4,400 jobs would be created in construction, manufacturing, operations and other sectors if the state took advantage of 20 percent of its CHP potential.”
Proposal would reinstate clean energy standards, but make compliance optional
As the two-year freeze of Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards nears expiration, state Republican legislators “have a new proposal that would technically put those standards back in place from 2017 through 2019 — but would make compliance optional,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) is the “chief sponsor of the new plan” which will be “introduced as an amendment to Senate Bill 320,” according to the article. Clean-energy rules that went into effect in 2008 require electric utilities to meet yearly benchmarks for renewable energy; those rules were “frozen” in 2014 by the passage of Senate Bill 310 (see our June 13, 2014 blog post). In the current proposal, Sen. Seitz has “made a subtle change to the main part of the bill,” which previously “would have extended the freeze until 2020, and then resumed the annual benchmarks.” The new version would require standards to be met only every three years, which Seitz said “will give utilities more flexibility” and also “allow for time to see whether the federal Clean Power Plant [sic] survives court challenges (see our January 21, 2016 blog post).” For more, read the full article.
Big solar project will make Bowling Green Ohio’s solar “mecca”
Next year, Bowling Green could be “the biggest solar city in Ohio,” according to Bill Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, thanks to a 20-megawatt (MW) project currently under construction, the Sentinel-Tribune reports. The project, which was highlighted at Green Energy Ohio’s statewide “Building Big Solar Across Ohio” conference, will have “85,000 tracking solar panels which follow the path of the sun,” according to the article. Spratley also predicted “big solar arrays will soon be very common,” The Plain Dealer reports. Congress’s extension of the 30-percent solar tax credit (see our December 22, 2015 blog post), as well as falling component costs, means “solar power has become more affordable, not only for homes and business but for power companies as well,” according to the Plain Dealer article. Utilities are increasingly adding solar generation to their lineup; American Electric Power has plans to add 400 MW of solar power to its energy production in Ohio (see our June 10, 2016 blog post). For more, read the full Sentinel-Tribune and Plain Dealer articles.
Minster’s solar and storage project wins Solar Power Player of the Year award
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has named the Village of Minster the 2016 Solar Power Players Awards Public Power Utility of the Year for its first-of-its-kind municipal solar power with battery storage project (see our October 23, 2015 blog post), the Sidney Daily News reports. The awards by SEPA “recognize electric utilities and their industry partners for creating programs embodying the innovation and collaboration that drives smart utility solar growth and expands consumer access to distributed energy technologies,” according to the article. Minster’s project, with 4.2 megawatts (MW) of solar and 7 MW of storage, is “the first of its kind developed by a public power authority.” Awards Judge Paul Belnick, vice president of Integrated Grid at New York Power Authority, said, “[b]y adding storage to solar, Minster has been able to increase the value of the solar array to its customers through revenue stacking . . . and demonstrate its forward-thinking leadership.” For more, read the full article.
OSU in final stage of selection for company to manage its energy
Ohio State University (OSU) is nearing the end of the process to select an outside group to manage its energy resources (see our March 1, 2016 blog post), Columbus Business First reports. OSU is reviewing six bids for the project; the board of trustees must approve the final plan. OSU President Michael Drake said that the benefits of the privatization plan extend beyond revenue generated to increased sustainability and energy efficiency for the campus. “I walk into different buildings where it’s hot in one room and cold in the next room, winter or summer,” Drake said, adding that OSU is “just not in the 21st century.” Columbus Business First reports that “[n]o school close to the size of Ohio State has leased such a large asset.” Drake said while the university “could wait for others” to show the way forward, “we’d prefer to be exemplars.” For more, read the full article.
Energy efficiency is third largest power resource in U.S., ACEEE report says
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released a report that finds “energy efficiency is currently the third largest electric power resource in the United States, and could grow to be the most significant by 2030,” Utility Dive reports. Energy efficiency not only “is a greater contributor to the U.S. energy mix than nuclear power,” but has also “averted the need to build the equivalent of 313 power plants since 1990,” according to ACEEE. Additionally, the group estimates that energy efficiency had a significant impact on carbon dioxide emissions, reducing annual emissions by “490 million tons in 2015.” Most states could meet 25% of their Clean Power Plan emissions reduction targets “through efficiency policies and the resulting investments,” while some could meet 100%. In a blog post, ACEEE said, “[w]e can see further evidence of efficiency’s impact in the fact that electricity consumption has flattened in recent years even as the economy has grown. What’s more, energy efficiency has saved consumers $90 billion annually on electric bills.” For more, read the full Utility Dive article, the ACEEE blog post, and the ACEEE report.
Denison’s solar field project still on hold pending another appeal
After twice receiving approval from Granville City Council and winning one court appeal, Denison University’s plan to install solar panels on its Biological Reserve is still on hold, pending the outcome of another appeal, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The case will now head to the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals, after a group of residents living on Welsh Hills Road filed the latest appeal. The group previously filed an appeal with Licking County Common Pleas Court after “the village council upheld the zoning board’s initial approval for the project (see our March 11, 2015 blog post),” at which time Judge Thomas Marcelain “sent the matter back to council, ruling that the village hadn’t determined whether the project constituted commercial use,” according to the article. Council then voted that “the solar array did not constitute commercial use (see our February 1, 2016 blog post),” and in July 2016, Judge Marcelain upheld that decision. Denison Sustainability Coordinator Jeremy King said the university has addressed many of the group’s concerns, as “[t]he fence surrounding the array would be at least 250 feet away from residents’ property lines,” and the university has promised “to put up a ‘plant screen’ — a buffer of shrubs and evergreen trees — between the panels and nearby homes.” For more, read the full article.
Findlay explores alternative fuels for city vehicles
A grant may help answer the question of whether the City of Findlay should be using alternative fuels, hometownstations.com reports. Clean Fuels Ohio approached the city about applying for “a $50,000 state grant to look at the costs and benefits of using alternative energy, primarily compressed natural gas,” according to the article. Findlay’s Safety Service Director Paul Schmelzer said he “can’t answer that question at this point” and if grant funds allow the city to explore it, then “we can tell those constituents that are asking the question . . . what does this look like for us, we’ll have some data to back up the answer.” Schmelzer says if the city does receive the grant, analysis should “be complete by the middle of 2017.” The grant would not obligate the city to implement any recommendations. For more, read the full article.
Which way does the wind blow in Ohio? State’s wind rules under discussion, again
The winds of change may be blowing in Ohio, as lawmakers discuss another possible change to the state’s requirements for wind turbines, Columbus Business First reports. Ohio “was considered a highly attractive region for developers of large-scale wind farms” until legislative changes enacted stricter setback requirements (see our June 18, 2014 blog post) and froze renewable energy standards (see our June 13, 2014 blog post). Because of those changes, developers “dialed back” the wind industry’s future in Ohio to “cautiously optimistic,” according to the article. A new piece of legislation, Substitute House Bill 190, could regain some of the lost appeal by establishing a “wind corridor” in northwestern Ohio, which “would allow counties in the corridor to follow less restrictive setback requirements.” Amazon.com Inc.’s manager of U.S. public policy, John Stephenson, testified in favor of the bill; Amazon “has partnered with EDP Renewables to build a 100-megawatt wind facility in Paulding County (see our December 9, 2015 blog post).” For more, read the full article.