Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

PUCO chairman wants to “change the dialogue” on energy policy in Ohio

Asim Haque wants to “change the dialogue” about energy policy in Ohio; the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) wants the commission to focus on electricity distribution, not generation, Columbus Business First reports. The PUCO “kickstarted” the effort to making that change “with a days-long conference called PowerForward (see our March 13, 2017 blog post),” according to the article. PowerForward “is a review of new tech and regulatory innovations with an eye toward how the changes will affect the power grid. . . . the wonkish embodiment of what Haque wants the PUCO to become — to focus on how power is delivered and used by customers.” Haque “said he has made a point of reaching out to lawmakers about energy issues.” He “sees his job as not trying to influence lawmakers,” but rather “to act as an adviser who helps them see both sides of issues and peel away the layers of lobbyist speak.” For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Proposed Vinton County 125-MW solar project could generate revenue for area

Officials in Vinton County “are laying out the welcome mat” for a proposed solar farm that would generate tax revenue in addition to electricity, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Invenergy, a renewable energy company based in Chicago, “plans to build the 125-megawatt solar farm” on privately owned “reclaimed strip-mined land just outside McArthur,” according to the article. County Commissioners said the “value to Vinton County lies in the tax revenue the project would generate.” They “anticipate negotiating a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement” that would “generate $827,822 for county and local governments and the countywide school district, which would receive $389,902 of the annual total.” The proposed site of the project currently generates $11,717 in annual property taxes. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar

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

FirstEnergy says nuclear subsidies are “crucial” for continued operation

Whether or not FirstEnergy retains ownership of the two nuclear power plants in Ohio, customer-paid subsidies are crucial to keep those plants operating, according to company president and CEO Chuck Jones, Cleveland.com reports. Jones said FirstEnergy will “continue to press Ohio lawmakers” for the legislation to provide that financial support (see our May 23, 2017 blog post), calling it “the right thing to do for the state of Ohio.” Without that Zero Emission Nuclear Resource program, Jones said “he doubted anyone could operate” the Perry and Davis-Besse plants due to competition from plants powered by natural gas, and even wind power at times, according to the article. Jones “thinks the switch particularly to gas turbine power plants could create both national security and economic development disasters,” due to a “very unsophisticated” bulk gas system that does not have the “redundancy that the bulk electric system has.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Sustainability, Transmission

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

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will install state’s largest solar array on Polaris building

JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to start construction this fall on a 20-megawatt solar array on its largest building worldwide, the McCoy Center at Polaris, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The array, which will be the “largest rooftop solar array in the state,” is part of the bank’s plans “to rely exclusively on renewable energy by 2020,” according to the article. The generating capacity of the array is “about two-thirds of the electricity needed to run the building.” Chase also plans to invest $200 billion by 2025 “to finance clean-energy projects for corporate and investor clients around the world.” Jamie Dimon, Chase’s CEO, said in a statement, “[t]his global investment leverages the firm’s resources and our people’s expertise to make our operations more energy efficient and provide clients with the resources they need to develop more sustainable products and services.” For more, read the full article

 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

O’Bleness Hospital’s energy efficient lighting upgrade provides multiple benefits

A “major overhaul” of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital’s lighting system will not only save money on energy costs, but also improve safety and sustainability, The Athens Messenger reports. The hospital converted all of its lights to light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures that will use one-third of the energy conventional lights use, according to the article. O’Bleness President Mark Seckinger said the upgrade will not only lower energy costs, but also improve the facility for patients, enhance campus safety and “allow us to be responsible environmental stewards.” The conversion to LED lights “will prevent 775 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere,” an amount equal to what a passenger vehicle would produce driving 1.8 million miles. It is estimated that “the parking lot will become 50 percent brighter at night,” increasing visibility for staff, patients and visitors. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Sustainability

ODSA program offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s Energy Loan Fund is accepting applications from eligible organizations seeking low-interest financing for energy efficiency improvements. The fund offers loans from $250,000 up to $2.5 million for projects to install efficiency measures that reduce energy by at least 15 percent. Those eligible to apply include small businesses, manufacturers, local governments, nonprofit organizations, school districts, colleges and universities. For program guidelines and information on the application process, click here.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

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

Springfield school district approves energy optimizer program

A new program will allow the Springfield Local School District to “use 35 percent less energy than other neighboring school districts” through energy upgrades, Akron.com reports. The Springfield Board of Education recently approved the project agreement with Energy Optimizers, USA LLC “for the purpose of furnishing certain services and work designed to improve district facilities,” according to the article. Improvements include changing out existing lighting to “energy-efficient, LED lighting, cutting the district’s power usage in half,” efficiency controls and monitoring “to better manage the district’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.” Two boilers will also be replaced; district Business Manager Dustin Boswell said “the new boilers will greatly reduce the use of natural gas and provide more reliability on the heating systems.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency
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