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Amazon building second Ohio wind farm for $300 million
Amazon Web Services, Inc.’s latest plans for expansion in Ohio are “likely to raise the profile of Ohio’s wind industry,” as the company will build a second major wind farm in the state, The Toledo Blade reports. Amazon will invest $300 million in the 189-megawatt (MW) Amazon Wind Farm US Central 2 in Hardin County, according to the article. The company expects its first wind farm, the 100-MW Amazon Wind Farm US Central in Paulding County, to start producing electricity in May 2017, while the second wind farm “is expected to come online in December, 2017.” Amazon said in a statement it “supports proposed changes to the state’s current wind setbacks law to encourage more investment in new renewable wind power projects,” referring to HB 483, legislation enacted in 2014 that created “some of the nation’s most restrictive setback requirements for wind turbines,” the Blade reports. Peter DeSantis, Amazon Web Services vice president of infrastructure, said, “[w]e remain committed to achieving our long-term goal of powering the AWS Cloud with 100 percent renewable energy.” For more, read the full article.
Whirlpool investing $13.5 million to add more wind technology at Ohio plants
Whirlpool Corp. recently broke ground on “a $3.3-million wind-turbine project” at its Ottawa, Ohio freezer assembly plant, extending the company’s commitment to renewable energy, The Toledo Blade reports. The 1.5-megawatt (MW) turbine, built and funded by One Energy LLC of Findlay, “will generate more than 30 percent of the plant’s power needs,” according to the article. Whirlpool will also “build three wind turbines at its clothes dryer plant in Marion, Ohio,” which will provide 19 percent of that plant’s power needs. The company is investing a total of $13.5 million in wind technology for its Ohio plants. Ron Voglewede, global sustainability director for Whirlpool, said, “[w]ind power is a key component of our commitment to environmentally responsible operations and manufacturing. We’re also excited for the opportunity to put our global commitment to sustainability into practice at a local level here in Ohio — where we have made a significant commitment to manufacturing, including by employing approximately 10,000 manufacturing employees.” For more, read the full article.
First Solar exceeds profit estimate for sixth straight quarter
The largest U.S. solar equipment manufacturer, First Solar Inc., has exceeded analysts’ profit estimate for the sixth quarter in a row, The Toledo Blade reports. First Solar’s “only North American solar-panel factory is in Perrysburg Township” Ohio; the company “raised its full-year gross margin forecast for the fourth time,” according to the article. First Solar “said it expected gross margins between 25.5 percent to 26 percent, well above its previous range of 18.5 percent to 19 percent.” 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.”
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.
Whirlpool bringing more wind turbines to Ohio plants
Whirlpool Corporation’s facility in Ottawa will have a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine producing energy by the end of the year, The Lima News reports. The company is making a $13.5 million total investment to add turbines to both its Ottawa and Marion plants, according to the article. One Energy will build and finance the wind turbines, which will be “the same design as the ones currently used at Whirlpool’s Findlay facility (see our January 30, 2015 blog post).” Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director for Whirlpool, said in a press release, “Whirlpool Corporation is proud to be a global leader in sustainable on-site energy generation for manufacturing, and this project is the latest to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable and renewable solutions.” The company expects the Ottawa turbine to offset 34 percent of its electricity consumption. Ottawa plant lead Jenni Hanna said, “[i]n addition to our commitment to sustainable energy, on-site energy generation enables us to be more efficient long-term. This project strengthens our manufacturing presence in our local community.” For more, read the full article and the press release.
First Solar’s Ohio plant receives exclusive award for environmental excellence
Calling it “an exclusive club,” Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler recognized First Solar Inc.’s Perrysburg Township production facility as only the 18th business in the state to receive a gold-level award from the state Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA)’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence program, The Toledo Blade reports. The award “recognizes businesses and groups for environmental stewardship, compiling not only an excellent record for complying with rules, but also demonstrating a long-term commitment to reduce waste,” according to the article. Butler said the Ohio EPA “could not find a better partner than First Solar,” calling their program “one of the best programs we’ve ever seen.” First Solar estimates recycling rates of “more than 95 percent of the semiconductor material and 90 percent of the glass it uses.” Additionally, in 2011, the company switched from sandblasting to a laser operation to remove semiconductor material from glass panels, which eliminates 16,000 lbs. of waste annually. Minimizing waste at the beginning of the manufacturing process as well as the end “reduces costs and is part of First Solar’s global values.” For more, read the full article.
Supreme Court upholds “demand-response” programs
The U.S. Supreme Court has “cleared the way for businesses to continue using ‘demand-response’ programs,” ruling 6-2 in favor of the energy-saving method, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Demand-response programs offer payment to companies “in exchange for being on call to cut electricity usage on days of unusually high demand,” according to the article. Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, called the decision a victory; many members of his group participate in demand-response programs. The Electric Power Supply Association had “argued successfully in a lower court that federal energy regulators had overstepped their bounds by allowing demand response.” Critics of demand-response have said such programs artificially lower electricity prices. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority, saying regulators have the authority to help maintain the reliability of the market. The programs “lead to substantial savings in electricity costs because they reduce demand at times when market prices would be highest” and by reducing power usage, also reduce power-plant emissions, the Dispatch reports. A 2014 PJM Independent Market Monitor report estimated demand response was responsible for a $9 billion price difference for consumers in a multi-state region. For more, read the full article.
Pitt Ohio’s new Parma facility to feature renewable energy
When Pitt Ohio builds its new 23-acre complex in Parma, the company will bring not only 240 new jobs, but also its commitment to sustainability by including renewable energy sources in its design, Cleveland.com reports. Jim Fields, Chief Operating Office at the Pittsburgh-based trucking company, said construction will begin in about a month and “will take about 18 months to complete.” Fields said “the facility will include renewable energy sources, such as solar and possibly wind and geo-thermal heating, so the complex will be nearly energy self-sufficient,” according to the article. Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter “praised Pitt Ohio’s push for clean energy and for being environmentally conscious,” while Fields said, “[t]he city has been fantastic to work with . . . [t]hey have been understanding of the creative and non-traditional things that we wanted to do there to be more friendly to the environment.” For more, read the full article.
Anheuser-Busch’s $18 million investment in Columbus plant to include $4 million heat-recovery system
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has planned $1.5 billion in improvements at its U.S. operations through 2018 “to expand brewery and packaging operations, increase product innovation and improve sustainability and efficiency,” Columbus Business First reports. Of the $18 million slated for the Columbus brewery, the “key piece” will be a “$4 million heat-recovery project that would take heat generated inside the brewery and redirect that into brewing operations.” A company spokesperson said once that project is complete, the plant “expects to see a 14 percent reduction in fuel use.” Anheuser-Busch plans to spend $850 million nationwide, including $720 million on sustainability projects. For more, read the full article.