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

Plummeting costs for wind, solar and battery technology threaten coal and gas

The economic case for coal and gas power generation faces “a mounting threat” as the costs for wind, solar and battery technology see “spectacular reductions,” new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows, according to a recent article in nawindpower.com. A BNEF report on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) “finds that fossil-fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it performs in the energy mix — the supply of bulk generation, the supply of dispatchable generation and the provision of flexibility,” the article reports. Wind and solar are becoming a bigger threat for bulk generation, as their LCOEs have reduced due to falling capital costs, increased efficiency and competitive auctions. The pairing of wind and solar power with battery storage allows those renewable sources of generation to smooth output, challenging new coal and gas on dispatchable power. In flexibility, stand-alone batteries are starting to compete with open-cycle gas plants on price. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission, Wind

Wind farm will be Huron County’s largest economic development project

Huron County commissioners gave unanimous approval for a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program for the Emerson Creek Wind farm, which will be the largest economic development project in the county, the Norwalk Reflector reports. The 120-turbine wind farm will be located in Huron and Erie counties, and will produce enough electricity to power about 94,000 homes. The PILOT program establishes an annual service payment of $9,000 per megawatt of electricity installed for Huron and Erie counties plus various townships and schools. Huron County Commissioner Skip Wilde said the wind farm is projected to bring in $4.5 million in annual revenue to the community. Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, a utility-scale renewable energy developer, is developing several projects in Ohio including Emerson Creek, with a combined private investment of $2.6 billion and 690 construction and operating jobs. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would help train offshore wind workforce

Three Congressional lawmakers recently introduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act to support the education and training of offshore wind workers, nawindpower.com reports. Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass), Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass), and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz) said the new federal grant program will assist state and local governments, colleges and universities, unions, and nonprofits to develop health and safety programs, curricula, and internships to develop an offshore wind workforce. The bill prioritizes “grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry.” Rep. Grijalva said, “[w]ind power is a huge part of building the cleaner, more sustainable economy we all deserve, and it can play an even bigger role with the right support.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Wind

After a strong 2017 for renewables mergers & acquisitions, 2018 could be even better

Despite uncertainty in the renewables sector going in to 2017, last year ended with some of the strongest wind and solar mergers and acquisitions activity to date, and 2018 could be even stronger, nawindpower.com reports. While there has been an increase in the number of competitors in the U.S. renewables market, an imbalance in supply versus demand has “resulted in highly competitive auction processes and evolving perspectives on project life and merchant pricing in order to maintain competitiveness,” according to the article. Increasing competition to acquire projects highlighted the scarcity of quality teams to develop projects, leading market participants to move quickly to “secure both development teams and project pipelines.” Nawindpower.com expects the trends from 2017 to continue, with the number of investors entering the renewable energy market continuing to increase while energy companies increasingly focus on renewable energy to replace retiring coal and nuclear plants. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Competing proposals: ease wind energy industry restrictions, or add more hurdles?

The future of wind energy development in Ohio could depend on which of two current proposals for changing industry requirements prevails, The Morning Journal reports. Development of new, large-scale wind projects have stalled in the state since HB 483, which increased setback guidelines for turbines, became law in 2014 (see our June 18, 2014 blog post). Wind-energy backers are proposing new legislation (see our February 27, 2018 blog post) that would allow counties to permit construction of wind turbines closer to property lines. However, a proposal before a state board that regulates wind farm sites seeks to force wind developers to obtain approval from more property owners before building turbines—adding yet another hurdle for any new projects. The American Wind Energy Association called that proposal “a death sentence” for Ohio’s future wind-energy development. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Wind

Study says 100% global renewable energy with stable grid is possible

There are methods that could make renewable energy reliable enough “to power at least 139 countries,” a new study by researchers in the United States and Denmark finds, according to a recent nawindpower.com article. Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark, propose ways to overcome the inconsistencies of wind, water and solar power and the “continuously fluctuating demand for energy” in the paper recently published in Renewable Energy, according to the article. The paper “builds on a previous study by Jacobson and colleagues that examined the ability of the grid to stay stable in the 48 contiguous states.” The new research includes excess energy-generation storage methods and “predictions of energy demands over time.” Computational modeling programs predicted future weather patterns and how much renewable energy could be produced from weather-related energy sources; the group was then able to predict how well more stable sources such as geothermal and hydroelectric power plants “could balance out the fluctuating energy to meet demands.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability, Wind

Record numbers in 2017 show clean energy is good for American economy

The growth of sustainable energy industries in 2017 “contributed to greater economic competitiveness, job creation and the expansion of the American economy,” according to findings in the sixth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, nawindpower.com reports. The factbook is the result of “a comprehensive review of energy statistics” by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), according to the article. The 2018 edition found that renewable deployment “grew at a near-record pace” last year, with wind, solar and hydropower driving renewable generation “up from 15% to 18% of the total electricity mix in one year.” The energy efficiency sector “was the largest single employer within the sustainable energy sectors” with nearly 2.2 million jobs. The United States “remains globally competitive for energy-intensive industries, thanks to low industrial power prices,” and corporations are increasingly demanding clean energy and investing in energy efficiency. For more, read the full article or click here to read the full factbook. 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability, Wind

Lawmaker says returning to former wind turbine setbacks will spur investment in Ohio

The debate over setback requirements for wind turbines in Ohio continues (see our August 23, 2016 blog post), this time with Senate Bill 328 (SB 328) sponsored by Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), which would “ease the restrictions for potential wind development,” the Springfield News-Sun reports. Dolan said the 2014 legislation (see our June 18, 2014 blog post) that increased setback requirements has “made it nearly impossible for wind farm developers to operate in the state,” according to the article. If approved, SB 328 “would determine setback requirements based on the height of the turbine and the length of the turbine’s blades.” Dolan pointed out that “no new wind farm applications have been filed with the state since the setback increase in 2014,” and he said Ohio “is losing out on millions in investment going to other states.” Andrew Gohn, eastern regional policy director for the American Wind Energy Association, said rolling back the 2014 legislation “will unleash Ohio business opportunities for wind power and the Fortune 500 companies who want to buy it.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

Net metering rules: reasonable limitations or detrimental restrictions? PUCO hears both sides

An uncommon opportunity for “utilities, environmental groups and other stakeholders” to testify before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) elicited diverse opinions on the PUCO’s recent changes to net metering rules in Ohio, Gongwer Ohio reports. The new net metering rules may reduce the amount of credit that net metering customers receive for power returned to the grid (see our November 15, 2017 blog post). PUCO Chairman Asim Haque said the direct feedback at the January 10 hearing (see our January 9, 2018 blog post) was “extraordinarily helpful.” FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, and Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) all expressed support for the new rules. In particular, DP&L counsel Michael Schuler argued that the rules “strike a delicate balance that both encourages the development of distributed generation . . . while also ensuring reasonable limits to ensure safe and reliable service.” Environmental groups, however, “suggested the rules could be detrimental to those who have already installed solar or wind energy by not crediting them for their existing value.”

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission, Wind
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