U.S. wind industry invested over $14B in 2016, adding 15,000 jobs

For the second straight year, the U.S. wind industry installed more than 8 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power in 2016, adding jobs “over nine times faster than the overall economy,” nawindpower.com reports. The industry invested over $14 billion “in new wind farms built in rural America” and added nearly 15,000 jobs in 2016.  A report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) shows U.S. wind generation “grew nearly 19% during 2016, and as of the start of this year, it provides 5.5% of the nation’s electricity,” according to the article. Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said, “last year, wind energy became America’s No. 1 source of renewable generating capacity, further advancing U.S. energy security.” Kiernan also said the wind industry is “on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

Wickliffe first in Ohio to install new “Wind Sphere” technology

A new wind turbine technology called “Wind Sphere” will be installed this month at the Park Ohio PMC Manufacturing Plant in Wickliffe, The News-Herald reports. Green Energy Technologies, a Park Ohio company, “designed the Wind Sphere with a shroud that amplifies the wind,” according to the article. The system allows for shorter blades that increase energy output, “making the wind turbine more conducive to populated, urban environments,” even allowing for rooftop installations. The Wickliffe Wind Sphere will be the “first of its type to be installed in the state of Ohio.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

Brooklyn landfill solar farm will save Cuyahoga County up to $3 million

Cuyahoga County could save up to $3 million in energy costs once a new solar farm in the closed Brooklyn landfill begins operating, the Journal-News reports. Construction on the new 4-megawatt (MW) solar farm “is expected to begin in September,” according to the article. The director of the county’s Department of Sustainability “says the solar panels will start generating electricity by January.” The landfill closed in 2015 and “hasn’t received waste since 2009.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

Renewable energy tax credits making huge impact on U.S. jobs, economy

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says federal tax credit extensions for wind and solar power are creating “huge gains” for U.S. employment and the gross domestic product (GDP), nawindpower.com reports. The nonprofit NRDC “analyzed the impact of the tax credits” for wind and solar that Congress extended at the end of 2015. The group published its findings in a report that shows “Ohio will add more than 10,000 jobs in 2018, and the state’s GDP is expected to get a boost of nearly $1.2 billion that year.” Kevin Steinberger, policy analyst in the group’s Climate and Clean Air Program, said, “[g]ood tax policies to boost wind and solar projects are creating new jobs, growing our economy, and providing climate and public health benefits.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Anheuser-Busch commits to 100% renewable energy by 2025

The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, “has announced a commitment to secure 100% of the company’s purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025,” nawindpower.com reports. AB InBev “expects to secure 75%–85% of electricity through direct power purchase agreements” and the final 15%–25% from “on-site technologies such as solar panels.” AB InBev’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity will make it “the largest corporate direct purchaser of renewable electricity in the consumer goods sector globally and will reduce the company’s operational carbon footprint by 30%.” This reduction is “the equivalent of taking nearly 500,000 cars off the road.”

This recent announcement is in line with Anheuser-Busch’s previous commitments to sustainability and efficiency, including its previous $18 million update to the Columbus brewery (see our July 1, 2015 blog post). For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

Second attempt to repeal renewable energy standards passes Ohio House

After Governor John Kasich vetoed a previous bill that would have drastically weakened clean energy standards in the state (see our January 12, 2017 blog post), a second bill to repeal renewable energy mandates has passed the House, UtilityDive reports. House Bill 114 (HB 114) now goes to the Senate; some changes from the previous bill include “limiting the amount ratepayers will pay for energy efficiency profits that accrue to the utility,” according to the article. Cleveland.com reports that HB 114 “makes the renewable energy mandates voluntary goals and completely erases them from law in 2026” (see our March 23, 2017 blog post) and “dilutes the requirement that traditional electric utilities reduce peak demand by developing energy efficiency programs for their customers.” For more, read the full UtilityDive and Cleveland.com articles. 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

What does repeal of the Clean Power Plan mean for the environment?

President Trump recently signed an executive order rescinding the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) (see our June 9, 2014 blog post), a move that eliminates the nation’s first mandate for power plants to reduce carbon emissions. Without that mandate, “America’s electrical power industry could continue to emit high levels of CO2,” according to Ken Kimmell, president of science advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, in a recent CBSnews.com article. The CPP would have helped the nation move toward “cleaner sources, like [natural] gas, and even really clean sources, like renewable energy, such as wind and solar,” which would provide “significant health benefits,” Kimmell said in the article. Cleveland.com reports that White House spokesman Sean Spicer said dismantling the CPP will “strengthen the nation’s energy security by ‘reducing unnecessary regulatory obstacles that restrict the responsible use of domestic energy resources.’” For more, read the full CBSnews.com and Cleveland.com articles. 

Environmental, Federal Climate Legislation, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Birding groups file lawsuit to block Camp Perry wind turbine

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) have filed a 31-page lawsuit in a U.S. District Court, asking the court “to block construction of a large wind turbine at Camp Perry near Lake Erie,” Cleveland.com reports. The two groups “are asking the court the halt the project until the National Guard obtains the proper permits and conducts environmental impact assessments required by the Endangered Species Act,” according to the article. The BSBO and ABC “successfully halted construction of the 600-kilowatt wind turbine” in 2014 after “determining the Air National Guard had failed to obtain the proper certificates.” Subsequently, the National Guard “completed an environmental assessment and obtained permission from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,” which the birding groups “maintain are inadequate.” In October 2016, the groups announced their intent to file the lawsuit if the Air National Guard did not halt their plans to build the turbine (see our November 22, 2016 blog post). For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

State legislators introduce second bill aimed at making energy mandates optional

Ohio Republicans “have introduced a bill to gut the state’s renewable energy standards,” Columbus Business First reports. Current law requires utilities “to supply 12.5 percent of their power with alternative energy by 2027.” Utilities that fail to comply with those standards will be required to make compliance payments. If passed, House Bill 114 (HB 114), however, will transition those mandates into voluntary goals. 

UtilityDive reports that HB 114 would also “permit customers who shop on the retail market to ‘opt out of paying any rider, charge, or other cost recovery mechanism’ designed to pay for utility electricity from renewable resources.” This opt-out provision is “reportedly a response to [American Electric Power’s] plans to construct 900 megawatts of renewable energy” (see our May 24, 2016 blog post). For more, read the full Columbus Business First and UtilityDive articles. 

Renewable Energy

PUCO announces "grid modernization" initiative

At its March 8, 2017, meeting, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) formally unveiled its grid modernization initiative, referred to as “PowerForward.” As the described by the commission:

PowerForward is the PUCO’s review of the latest in technological and regulatory innovation that could serve to enhance the consumer electricity experience. Through this series, we intend to chart a clear path forward for future grid modernization projects, innovative regulations and forward-thinking policies.

For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
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