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OSU selects partner for energy management in $1.165 billion deal
Ohio State University (OSU) trustees recently approved “a $1.165 billion deal to hand its energy systems over to a private company,” Gongwer Ohio reports. The 50-year lease of the university’s energy systems management was awarded to ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure, one of three teams that made it to the final round of bidding on the project (see our March 24, 2017 blog post). Gongwer reports that “[i]n addition to that upfront $1 billion payment, the deal includes a $150 million commitment to specific academic areas and the creation of a $50 million Energy Advancement and Innovation Center.” OSU’s annual costs will include a “$45 million fixed fee to rise with inflation, a $9.2 million starting operating fee and a variable fee tied to capital investments.”
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.
Three teams from around the world in final running for OSU energy privatization
Two years after The Ohio State University (OSU) first announced its plans to explore privatizing its energy management (see our March 5, 2015 blog post), the university has identified three teams bidding on the project, including companies headquartered in Canada, Paris, and Australia, Columbus Business First reports. The teams “are made of a finance arm and an energy-operating company because of the complexity” of the project. According to the article, the winning bidder “would have to meet sustainability goals and the $150 million in what the university calls ‘academic collaboration investment,’ including $50 million apiece for research and philanthropy such as funding faculty positions.”
The three teams bidding for the opportunity to privatize OSU’s energy assets are Brookfield Asset Management and Enwave District Energy, Engie North America and Axium Infrastructure, and Macquarie Corporate Holdings and Veolia Energy Operating Services. For more, read the full article.
OSU President Drake says energy privatization needed to meet sustainability goals
Appearing on a recent episode of WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” Ohio State University (OSU) President Michael Drake said the university’s plan to privatize its energy management “is necessary to reduce the campus’s carbon emissions and energy footprint,” thelantern.com reports. OSU began exploring the possibility of outsourcing its energy management to save money and increase energy efficiency over two years ago (see our March 5, 2015 blog post). Drake said the university needs a partner that can help them “achieve our sustainability goals” and that he hopes “the university becomes more efficient in the way it uses energy through the privatized arrangement,” according to the article. “We have certain buildings now that are too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer . . . I think we can just do a better job at managing our energy,” he said. Leading experts from around the world have expressed interest in partnering with OSU in this project (see our November 4, 2016 blog post). For more, read the full article.
OMA Energy Guide details five game-changing Ohio energy projects
The Ohio Manufacturers' Association recently released a report on what it considers to be the top five energy projects currently under development in Ohio, including a look at how each project impacts Ohio energy consumers' bottom lines. These projects represent more than $30 billion in investment over the past five years, and have afforded Ohio residents lower energy prices.
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.
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.
Circleville schools receive rebates and recognition for green energy efforts
With construction nearly complete on the new Circleville City Schools campus, the district’s efforts to make the three schools “as energy efficient as possible” have paid off in both recognition and financial incentives, the Circleville Herald reports. Superintendent Jonathan Davis said both the completed high school and elementary projects received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver awards, according to the article. The awards were based on the schools’ ratings for categories including water efficiency, materials and resources, building site sustainability and indoor environmental quality. Additionally, AEP (American Electric Power) Ohio recognized Circleville City Schools for “demonstrating a commitment to energy efficiency and the environment” for “saving 397,236 kWh or 298.92 tons of CO2 annually.” AEP presented the district with “rebate checks for $124,572.88 and $130,102.80 as financial incentives to continue to conserve energy.” For more, read the full article.
Gov. Kasich threatens return to “unpalatable” energy standards if lawmakers try deeper cuts
Ohio’s back-and-forth over renewable energy standards continues. While campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in New Hampshire, Governor John Kasich said he will reinstate the previous standards if legislators try to reduce the standards further, Columbus Business First reports. In June 2014, Kasich signed a bill that froze the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years while a committee studied the mandates enacted in 2008 (see our June 13, 2014 blog post). The Energy Mandates Study Committee’s report, presented in September 2015, recommended extending that freeze indefinitely. Kasich said that “some wanted to basically, in my opinion, stop the development of solar and wind and even efficiency standards,” which he called “not acceptable.” Kasich “told a town hall about the ‘battle’ with some legislators over the clean energy standards,” saying, “if the legislature wants to gut [the standards], then I’m going back to the goal that we had, which was unpalatable.” For more, read the full article.
OSU plans to create energy research hub, seeks energy storage expert
The Ohio State University (OSU) is “beefing up” its environment and energy programs as it works toward creating an interdisciplinary research hub in Columbus, according to a recent Columbus Business First article. OSU is “seeking an engineering professor to staff a tenure-track position in energy storage and conversion,” a position that will be largely focused on electric battery storage. Giorgio Rizzoni, a professor and director for OSU’s Center for Automotive Research, said, while “[w]e do some research in batteries,” none of the existing faculty are experts in energy storage systems. Director of OSU’s Office of Energy and Environment Kate Bartter said, “[i]t’s really about not just developing new materials for energy and sustainability but a real focus on accelerating discovery to deployment.” Battery storage is a rapidly growing area of energy research; it is already being used by utilities (see our June 11, 2014 and June 09, 2015 blog posts), and experts say finding ways to economically store power is key to expanding on-site generation for companies (see our August 11, 2015 blog post for more on this). For more, read the full article.