Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

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

Ohio House suspends bill that would support state’s nuclear plants

The Ohio House of Representatives Public Utilities Committee has “suspended hearings and a vote on a bill to lend financial support to nuclear power plants” in the state, UtilityDive reports. Senate Bill 128 (SB 128) would create a Zero Emission Nuclear Resource (ZEN) program that would compensate FirstEnergy’s two Ohio nuclear plants for generating clean, reliable energy (see our April 19, 2017 blog post). Chair of the House utilities committee Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) “said that after ten hours of hearings he was not ‘sensing a keen desire’ from lawmakers to vote on the bill,” according to the article. Seitz said he doesn’t expect the House to take up SB 128 again “unless something cataclysmic should happen.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Transmission

Does federal court suspension signal the end of the Clean Power Plan?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently granted the Trump administration’s request to “suspend lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan rule,” The Washington Post reports. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) “represents the first-ever regulations to cut carbon pollution from U.S. existing power plants,” nawindpower.com reports. The CPP would reduce carbon emissions from power plants by approximately 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. 

David Rivkin, a lawyer for a group of states who filed suit against the CPP, called the D.C. District Court ruling “the death knell of the Clean Power Plan,” saying many of the plan’s rules “have been plagued by fundamental constitutional infirmities,” according to the Washington Post article. The Post also reports, however, that environmental and public health groups that support the CPP still believe they can prevail in court. General counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, for example, has stated that “[t]he Supreme Court is clear that the EPA has a duty to protect Americans from dangerous climate pollution under our nation’s clean air laws.” For more, read the full Washington Post and nawindpower.com articles. 

Environmental, Federal Climate Legislation

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

Lender encouraging Ohio businesses to use PACE financing for energy upgrades

Connecticut-based Greenworks Lending “is making a major push into Ohio” to promote Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for business owners, Columbus Business First reports. PACE is a financing tool for clean-energy improvements in which loans are paid back through assessments to the property tax bill. This enables building owners to “start a major, long-term energy project with no upfront costs that can be repaid over years with a private capital provider,” according to the article. Ohio’s “aging building stock” makes it an attractive market for Greenworks. The company’s director of market activation and policy, Aaron Kraus, said the best candidates for the PACE program are “mid-market buildings that need extensive capital upgrades — things like new boilers, chillers, lighting or solar panels in medical offices, warehouse and retail strips.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

Are Ohio’s zero-emission credit bills a bailout?

FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones recently appeared before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in support of a bill to create zero-emission credits for his company’s nuclear power plants, Gongwer Ohio reports. House Bill 178 and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 128 (see our April 19, 2017 blog post) “would establish the Zero Emission Nuclear [ZEN] Resource Program, which would create the credits to be priced by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and purchased by distribution utilities with nuclear plants.” Jones said the ZEN program would “shore up struggling plants, thereby saving thousands of direct and indirect Ohio jobs,” according to Gongwer. Bill opponent American Petroleum Institute Ohio issued a statement arguing that “the bill would tip the scales away from more competitive natural gas plants.” Jones said he does not view the program as a subsidy but as the state deciding whether to pay the plants for the economic and environmental benefits they bring.

Environmental, Transmission

Ohio utility wholesale auctions clear above $50/MWh

State regulators in Ohio recently accepted results of wholesale power auctions from utilities with prices clearing above $50/MWh, UtilityDive reports. Dayton Power & Light Co.’s auction had “competitive supplier bids on one-, two- and three-year supply contracts clearing at prices from $48.65/MWh to $51.45/MWh.”  Duke Energy submitted auction results “for a one-year supply contract at a clearing price of $50.71/MWh,” according to the article. The results “will be blended with future auctions to establish a price for utility customers to compare with competitive options, which they can choose to take.” Clearing prices have “remained relatively steady” in Ohio over the past few years, even as the state has seen retiring baseload generation as aging coal-fired plants have closed (see our April 9, 2015 blog post). For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

Trumbull County commissioners vote no on electric utility re-regulation

Commissioners in Trumbull County oppose re-regulation of Ohio’s electric utility service and want to protect “an $890 million energy investment” in Lordstown, the Tribune Chronicle reports. Commissioners approved a resolution opposing large power companies’ requests for “state legislators to return to the days prior to the 2001 de-regulation of the industry.” Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, said his company’s plans to build a “$900 million, 940-megawatt gas-powered electric plant next to the Lordstown Energy Center now under construction” would “stop immediately” if Ohio reinstates regulation of electric rates. County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said energy from the new plant would be “cleaner, greener and cheaper” and that energy consumers have saved millions since the industry was deregulated. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Transmission

Bucyrus residents oppose AEP’s request to raise base rates

In one of four statewide hearings about a potential increase in electricity base rates, Bucyrus residents expressed concern and opposition, the Mansfield News Journal reports. The hearing “was designed to only collect statements from citizens” about American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio’s request to raise “its electric security plan —the consumers’ base rate,” according to the article. If the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approves that request, “AEP Ohio customers will see their base rate rise from $8.40 to $18.40 monthly.” PUCO Commissioner Beth Trombold listened as citizens voiced concerns over rising electricity costs, the effect of the increase on low-wage families, and a lack of competition for electric utility service. The final hearing will be held at 12:30 p.m. on April 25 at PUCO’s office on Broad Street in Columbus. For more, read the full article.

Transmission
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