Several groups helping make Northeast Ohio greener

Businesses and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are increasingly looking to reduce energy costs and lessen their environmental impact; environmentalists and other advocates say several organizations are helping make that happen, Cleveland.com reports. KeyBank’s Key4Green business segment is “a group of bankers who understand the (renewable energy) industry, and they help clients understand tax implications and the tax credits available,” the article reports. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is in the permitting process to build six offshore wind turbines several miles off the Lake Erie coast (see our August 25, 2017 blog post). Rust Belt Riders “collect food waste that would normally go into the garbage and distribute it” to urban farmers and community gardeners to use as fertilizer, diverting the waste from landfills. The Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that “helps building owners and property managers reduce their electricity use and lower CO2 emissions.” For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Can OSU’s carbon-capture technology help coal compete with renewables?

Coal-direct chemical looping (CDCL), a “promising technology under development at The Ohio State University,” can convert fossil fuels, including coal, into electricity without creating carbon dioxide pollution, Energy News Network reports. David Kraft, a fellow with power company Babcock & Wilcox, which is partnering with the university, said CDCL “has potential to transform the power and petrochemical industries,” according to the article. The technology involves metal oxide particles passing through high-pressure reactors to burn coal, biomass, or shale gas without the presence of oxygen. The CO2 is captured and can be used “for nanofibers or chemicals such as acetic acid or methanol.” Another outcome, synthesis gas, is “the technology’s likeliest near-term application, as it’s used as fuel in electricity-generating internal combustion engines” and the falling costs of renewable power generation make the economic viability of “clean coal” unclear. For more, read the full article

Biomass, Environmental, Shale

St. Clairsville, Caldwell prisons awarded $11M in OAQDA financing for energy upgrades

A proposed energy conservation project at two Ohio prisons will receive $11 million in financing from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) to help fund upgrades to reduce energy and water consumption, The Daily Jeff reports. Johnson Controls Inc., will use the OAQDA financing for the installation of lighting retrofits, enhanced energy management systems, and water conservation measures at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville and Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell. The project is expected to “reduce utility bills, operations and maintenance at both facilities combined by $1,042,360.17 annually, or approximately 21 percent,” according to the article. The resulting carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions reduction will be equivalent to the amount produced by 1,137 cars on the road or 573 homes’ electricity usage. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance

Fifth Third plans to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp recently became the first bank and first Fortune 500 company “to contract for 100 percent renewable power through a single new project,” The Toledo Blade reports. The company announced a power purchase agreement that will result in the construction of a $200-million, 80-megawatt solar project in North Carolina, which will generate about 194,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 144,000 metric tons each year, equivalent to emissions produced by 30,800 passenger cars or 21,600 homes. Scott Hassell, Fifth Third’s vice president and director of environmental sustainability, said the company has been working for years to increase sustainability and energy efficiency. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

University of Dayton adds 4,026 solar panels as part of ongoing sustainability efforts

Thousands of solar panels will be placed on the roof of Fitz Hall and the front lawn of Daniel J. Curran Place on the University of Dayton (UD) campus, as part of the school’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint and save on energy costs, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The 1.26-megawatt installation will provide nearly 10 percent of the two buildings’ power consumption, as well as power electric car-charging stations. The solar arrays will offset about 1 percent of campus-wide carbon emissions, the equivalent of annual carbon dioxide emissions from 1.4 million pounds of burned coal, 140 homes, or conserving 3,010 barrels of oil. Milford-based Melink Corporation will engineer and construct the arrays, and will sell the electricity to UD. The university expects to save approximately $300,000 over the 30-year lifespan of the panels. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar

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

Environmental

Ohio tops list of states for carbon emissions reduction from 2005 to 2015

Despite the back-and-forth legislative debate over Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards (see our October 3, 2016 blog post), the state cut 50 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year over a ten-year period, more than any other state, Crain’s Cleveland reports. That reduction is largely a result of utility companies closing coal-fired power plants, according to the article. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has “closed 10 plants since 2010”; company spokesperson Jennifer Young said, “[i]n Ohio alone, we have reduced our carbon emissions from 2005 by 71%, and almost all of that is from plant retirements.” Information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows Ohio’s “annual carbon output for the period dropped from its peak of 132.6 million metric tons in 2005 to 82.6 million metric tons in 2015.” For more, read the full article

Environmental

SOPEC proposal for carbon tax would fund solar development

A Southeast Ohio Public Energy Commission (SOPEC) official recently presented Athens City Council with proposed legislation “to help the city achieve its energy goals,” including a carbon tax to fund solar development, The Athens News reports. Eddie Smith, SOPEC’s operations coordinator, explained the major goals of the Energy Action Plan: a 20-percent reduction in residential energy consumption, a 20-percent increase “in the share of residential and municipal energy consumed from renewable sources,” and a 20-percent “increase in installed solar capacity,” according to the article. A 2-mill carbon tax, “which would be charged through SOPEC’s Opt-Out Electric Aggregation program,” would fund solar development for “projects on public buildings” in Athens, including school and government buildings. The tax would cost the average Athens home between $1.60 and $1.80 per month. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar

PUCO net-metering hearing will allow opposing sides to voice concerns

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) “will hold a highly unusual hearing on Jan. 10,” with all commissioners present to hear concerns from clean-energy advocates and utility companies about recent changes to net metering rules in Ohio (see our December 7, 2017 blog post), The Columbus Dispatch reports. “Environmental advocates and renewable-energy businesses had strong objections to a provision that reduces the amount of credit a resident can receive for any excess energy” generated, according to the article. Utility companies “had concerns that the ruling would allow home-based systems that are larger than is reasonable for a household or business.” The Sunbury News reports that the oral arguments “are scheduled for Jan. 10, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at the PUCO Offices, Hearing Room 11-B, 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus,” and will also be webcast live on the PUCO website. For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Sunbury News articles. 

Environmental, Renewable Energy

ASHTA Chemicals $100M project will upgrade energy efficiency and environmental friendliness

A chemical products manufacturer in Ashtabula Township “has started work on a $100 million project” to improve its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, the Star Beacon reports. ASHTA Chemicals makes “chlorine and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and other chemical products used for water treatment, pharmaceuticals, batteries, industrial cleaners and fertilizers,” according to the article. The company “has been using a mercury cell process to make its products” for decades, but will switch to a “membrane cell technology” process, which will eliminate the use of mercury and reduce energy costs “by about 25 percent.” ASHTA President Brad Westfall said, “[t]his investment will allow us to operate our facility long into the future with significantly improved energy efficiency and increased production capacity,” as well as eliminating the use of mercury. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.
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