Financing for 100-MW Northwest Ohio Wind Project finalized

A $200-million project that will add “about 40 new wind turbines” in Paulding County will sell 100% of its energy output to General Motors, Paulding Progress reports. Starwood Energy Group Global LLC, “a leading private investment firm focused on energy infrastructure,” recently announced “it has finalized agreements to finance and construct the 100-megawatt (MW) Northwest Ohio Wind Project,” according to the article. An “affiliate of Citi has committed to provide tax equity for the project” which “is contracted to sell 100 percent of its output to General Motors pursuant to a long-term power purchase agreement.” Citi’s global head of alternative energy finance, Marshal Salant, said the “innovative partnership highlights Citi’s commitment to sustainable growth and to financing the development of clean renewable energy infrastructure.” For more, read the full article

Project Finance, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Wind

Bird groups join forces to challenge proposed Lake Erie wind turbines

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) are challenging an environmental assessment of the proposed wind turbine project off the shore of Lake Erie (see our August 25, 2017 blog post), the News Herald reports. “The BSBO and the ABC reject the assessment’s claim that the planned Icebreaker wind energy facility would have ‘little to no impact’ on birds and bats,” but instead say the turbines “would pose a significant threat to wildlife,” according to the article. The two groups previously filed a lawsuit against a wind turbine project at Camp Perry (see our July 17, 2017 blog post). Among the concerns the groups listed, they say “[t]he assessment erroneously concludes that migratory birds and bats avoid crossing Lake Erie,” while studies show “large numbers of migratory birds and bats” do fly across the lake. The ABC and BSBO “hope that these concerns will be reflected in any future assessments of the environmental impact of Icebreaker and other proposed offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Solar, wind, and natural gas groups unite to oppose DOE proposal to support coal and nuclear plants

An alliance of 20 trade organizations representing wind, natural gas, and solar power industries is voicing opposition to the Department of Energy (DOE)’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, Cleveland.com reports. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal “argues that the large, old coal and nuclear plants, which run 24 hours a day, add ‘resiliency’ to the grid” that protects it during weather disruptions or terrorist attacks, according to the article. The trade groups counter that the Trump administration has not demonstrated “problems with the existing system,” and that the proposal would increase costs to consumers. The Ohio Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has also criticized the DOE plan (see our November 2, 2017 blog post). For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission, Wind

Ohio General Motors plants will run on 100% renewable energy by end of 2018

General Motors Corp. recently announced plans for all of its Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities to “meet their electricity needs through 100 percent renewable energy” by the end of 2018, according to a press release. The Business Journal reports General Motors “is buying 200 megawatts of wind energy from wind farms in Ohio and Illinois.” According to the article, wind power “will be used at the Lordstown Assembly, Defiance Casting Operations, Parma Metal Center and Toledo Transmission Plant in Ohio” as well as facilities in Indiana. The auto manufacturer “also uses solar power at 26 plants, including Lordstown,” according to The Business Journal. The article also reports that GM plans to “generate electricity for all of its plants on-site by 2050.” For more, read the full press release and article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

SB 188 would allow more wind turbines, bringing billions in investment to Ohio

State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) is making another push to allow more wind turbine construction in Ohio with his proposal, Senate Bill 188 (SB 188), which would “partially undo changes” to previous legislation that significantly increased setback limits for turbines, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Those changes took effect when Governor Kasich signed HB 483 in 2014 (see our June 18, 2014 blog post), creating some of the most restrictive wind turbine setback limits in the country. Hite “tried to make the changes earlier this year through an amendment to the state budget (see our July 5, 2017 blog post),” but that amendment was removed from the budget bill. Supporters of SB 188, including the American Wind Energy Association, “say the changes will lead to $4.2 billion worth of investment that is now bottled up because some projects are not economically viable with current rules.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

Ohio leads Midwest in solar jobs, second overall in clean energy jobs

As the number of Americans working in clean-energy jobs approaches 600,000, Ohio and Michigan “are home to a large portion” of that workforce, The Toledo Blade reports. Ohio “leads the Midwest” in solar with 8,719 jobs, and last year “experienced a 4.6 percent growth in clean energy jobs,” according to a recently released report. The 2017 Clean Jobs Midwest report, compiled by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, shows the “Midwest added more than 30,000 clean energy jobs last year,” with 4,661 of those in Ohio, according to The Blade. While Ohio “leads the Midwest in clean energy manufacturing jobs,” the state has fallen behind in wind energy since the 2014 legislation that created “the most restrictive” turbine setback limits in the country. That restriction could be costing Ohio billions (see our June 7, 2017 blog post). Gail Parson, Environmental Entrepreneurs spokesperson Gail Parson said that “gets back to why policies matter so much, but the clean energy march is progressing.” For more, read the full article

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Ohio ranked 6th nationwide for distributed wind capacity

The state of Ohio “is reflecting wind-based power’s rapid and sustained growth” as the wind industry continues to add capacity nationwide, The Morning Journal reports. Wind market reports released by the U.S. Department of Energy show Ohio “ranks 6th nationwide in total wind capacity deployed in distributed applications, with 42.1 megawatts installed between 2003 and 2016,” according to the article. Ohio “installed 102 megawatts of utility-scale wind capacity — capacity from wind farms used for bulk power” in 2016. Wind energy represented “27 percent of all energy capacity additions” in America last year. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

Lake Erie 20.7-MW wind turbine project has formal hearing scheduled for November

The Ohio Power Siting Board has scheduled a formal public hearing on the proposed Icebreaker wind turbine project off the shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland.com reports. The board “wants to hear the public’s opinion” of the project; anyone may testify at the November 8 hearing in Cleveland City Council chambers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold an “informational open house” on September 6 at the Lakewood Women’s Club Pavilion. The DOE recently released “a preliminary environmental assessment of the project” that concludes “the project’s construction and operation will have minor or negligible impacts on the lake, on bats, migrating birds and insects,” according to the article. The $126-million demonstration project (see our February 17, 2017 blog post) is expected to employ “more than 500 people” and “pump more than $80 million into the local economy.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Icebreaker wind project “clears regulatory hurdle,” taking “major step forward”

The first freshwater wind farm “took a major step forward” to becoming reality as the Ohio Power Siting Board issued a letter saying Icebreaker Windpower Inc.’s application to build the project is now complete, CompositesWorld reports. The application for the “six-turbine, 20.7-MW demonstration project” to be located 8-10 miles northwest of Cleveland will now be processed. Dr. Lorry Wagner, president of Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), said, “[w]e are confident that our application demonstrates conclusively” that Icebreaker “will not only have minimal adverse impact on fish and wildlife but will also create jobs, boost the local and regional economy and provide a local source of clean energy.” Cleveland.com reports that the goal of the $126-million project is “to prove it can be done and can stand up to shifting lake ice, opening the door to large future developments.” For more, read the full CompositesWorld and Cleveland.com articles. 

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

AEP CEO says $4.5B wind farm investment is less risky than building coal plants

Columbus electric utility American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP) plans to spend $4.5 billion on “the largest single-site wind farm in America,” Columbus Business First reports. While “[t]he project holds risk,” AEP CEO Nick Akins said, “the risks associated with spending $4.5 billion on the 800-turbine Oklahoma project are still less than those associated with building traditional power plants.” According to Akins, “if you built a central-station generation like a coal unit . . . it would be as big or bigger, but much more risky,” the article reports. A new American Wind Energy Association report shows that “[d]evelopment and construction of wind projects rose 40 percent in second-quarter 2017 compared to a year ago.” For more, read the full article.  

Renewable Energy, Wind
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