Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

PUCO ruling likely to reduce credits to net metering customers

Some Ohio electric utility customers who generate power through solar panels or other renewable energy systems may soon receive less credit for doing so, The Columbus Dispatch reports. A recent Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) ruling is likely to reduce the amount that electric utilities credit their net metering customers who send excess energy back to the grid. Under the revised regulations, credits for excess generation will be calculated based on the energy-only component of the utility’s standard service offer. That change means the credit to AEP customers, for example, could “be reduced by about 30 percent.” Trish Demeter, vice president for policy at the Ohio Environmental Council, called the ruling “a step back.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority official embraces fuel-cell technology

Kent State University’s Stark campus recently hosted the North American Fuel Cell Bus Conference, where transit officials and company executives discussed “fuel cell energy’s progress and where it goes from here,” CantonRep.com reports. The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) CEO and Executive Director, Kirt Conrad, believes fuel-cell technology “could boost the local economy if enough companies that serve roles in the fuel cell industry supply chain grow or relocate” to the area, according to the article. SARTA has “the largest fuel-cell bus fleet east of the Mississippi River,” and “expects to have at least 13 hydrogen fuel cell buses within the next year.” Conrad “has hosted events locally for people who work in the fuel cell industry to promote Stark County as a future site for companies” involved in the supply chain. For more, read the full article.

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Renewable Energy

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

Village of Yellow Springs unveils 6-acre solar array

The village of Yellow Springs became a little greener recently when it “unveiled its newest source of energy — 3,024 solar panels tied into the grid on about 6 and a half acres of village owned land,” the Dayton Daily News reports. The solar array “brings the village’s total energy supply to 93 percent renewable energy sources,” according to the article. Village Manager Patti Bates said she and Electric Superintendent Johnnie Burns “started talking about the idea of the array in late 2014 to add more green energy to our portfolio and reduce the amount of energy we buy off the market.” Yellow Springs hired Dovetail Solar and wind to install the project, and entered into “a 25-year lease agreement with AEP Onsite Partners, LLC,” with an option to buy in six years. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

PUCO opposes U.S. Energy Secretary’s proposed subsidies for coal-fired and nuclear plants

Ohio utility regulators “have come out against” U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize nuclear and coal-fired power plants, saying that plan would cost the state’s electricity consumers billions, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Sec. Perry’s proposal “would create incentives for power plants that have their fuel on site, which would cover coal and nuclear but not other major fuels, such as natural gas and most renewables,” according to the article. Perry said, “[a] reliable and resilient electrical grid is critical not only to our national and economic security, but also to the everyday lives of American families.” The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) estimated the subsidies would cost $8.1 billion; PUCO issued a formal response saying it is “deeply concerned” about that high cost to consumers. For more, read the full article

Transmission

If we build them (recharging stations), 10,000 emissions-free vehicles could come

Columbus currently has “[a] single hydrogen fuel-cell bus,” but a clean fuel collaborative said there could be 10,000 more fuel-cell vehicles in the city if we added more recharging stations, Columbus Business First reports. A report by Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative said building five additional hydrogen recharging stations in Columbus and Dublin would mean “transit and delivery fleets could add more” of the emissions-free cars, according to the article. The Ohio State University “added a hydrogen fuel-cell bus to its Campus Area Bus System” in March 2017; that bus is on a one-year loan from the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority. Kirt Conrad, CEO of the transit authority, said adding recharging stations is ultimately “about keeping Ohio competitive in the emerging electric vehicle market and making sure we have a leadership role in this emerging industry.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.

Officials from Lake, Ottawa Counties meet with DOE to discuss impact of nuclear plants on grid stability

Lake and Ottawa county commissioners met with Department of Energy (DOE) staff members recently to discuss “the need for timely intervention” to avoid closure of the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear energy plants in Ohio, among other issues related to the plants, The News-Herald reports. Additional topics included “the Zero Emission Credit legislation currently under discussion in the Ohio legislature” and the nuclear plants’ impact on the electricity grid, according to the article. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), DOE Secretary Rick Perry said, “America’s greatness depends on a reliable, resilient electric grid powered by an ‘all of the above’ mix of generation sources.” Perry also said the grid’s resiliency is “being threatened by premature retirement of these fuel-secure baseload resources.” “Baseload” refers to nuclear and coal-powered plants, because they use material stored on site, “which reduces the risk of interruptions in fuel supply.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Transmission

Cincinnati mayor’s goal: city government powered with 100% renewable energy

Installing solar arrays that would generate 25 megawatts of energy is the first step in Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley’s plan to eventually power the city government with 100% renewable energy, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The array, covering 125 to 150 acres (see our October 20, 2017 blog post), “would be the largest onsite municipal solar array in the country,” according to the article. Cranley “believes that by bringing in a private company – which can take advantage of federal tax credits where the government cannot – to build the array, the city will end up paying less for electricity than it does now.” The installation “would provide enough energy to power the city’s parks, recreation, parking, police, fire, health and administration buildings” and “reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 25,000 tons a year . . . the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar

Updates to Green Cincinnati Plan include large solar project

City of Cincinnati officials recently met with residents at the Cincinnati Zoo, “also known as the greenest zoo in America,” to present and gather recommendations to improve the city’s Green Cincinnati Plan, soapboxmedia.com reports. The plan “focuses on many different areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation” and climate adaptation among others, according to the article. One major update to the plan is a new solar installation with the goal of building “the largest city-owned solar energy array,” according to Oliver Kroner, the city’s sustainability coordinator. The proposed solar arrays on city-owned properties at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Lunken Airport and the Center Hill landfill would produce 25 megawatts of power, which “could cover 20 percent of the city’s total energy.” Cincinnati “hopes to convert to 100 percent renewable energy” by 2035. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

Cincinnati’s top ranking for sustainability could help city win Amazon’s HQ2

Site Selection Magazine’s latest rankings could give Cincinnati an edge in the competition for Amazon’s $5-billion second headquarters location search, Cincinnati.com reports. The magazine ranked Cincinnati “No. 1 for environmental sustainability,” which “might be the city’s biggest strength in its competition with leading contenders” to become the home of Amazon’s HQ2. That project is expected to bring “[a]s many as 50,000 high-paying jobs” and “tens of billions in potential investment in the surrounding communities,” according to the article. Amazon “has made environmental sustainability a major priority,” and “last year was the leading corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States.” Site Selection highlighted “the University of Cincinnati’s new LEED gold-certified $120 million Carl H. Lindner College of Business” and Proctor & Gamble’s “investment and recycling and eliminating manufacturing waste” as examples of the city’s sustainability agenda. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Sustainability
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