Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

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

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

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

New energy plan for OSU could include natural gas plant on campus

Part of Ohio State University (OSU)’s just-approved energy management agreement with Engie North America and Axium Infrastructure (see our April 12, 2017 blog post) could include a new natural-gas power plant on campus, Columbus Business First reports. Engie “could build a 60-megawatt facility in between Ohio Stadium and the McCracken power plant.” It would be the first power plant on campus providing electric power to the university. If the plant is built, “the combined heat and power plant would produce electricity and heating,” sending “excess energy as heat to nearby buildings.” OSU’s contract with Engie and Axium “calls for a feasibility study” on constructing such a plant. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Transmission

Cincinnati, Columbus among top 30 cities for LEED certification

Two Ohio cities—Cincinnati and Columbus—have been ranked in the top 30 U.S. cities for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification “has been among the key barometers used to measure energy-efficient building practices globally since 2004,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Cities receive recognition on the list according to their amount of “LEED-certified space, ranked by square footage.” LEED offers several levels of certification: Platinum is the highest level of certification and has only been awarded to 5 percent of LEED-certified properties. In 2016, two Cincinnati properties received Platinum recognition. For more, read the full article or see the complete ranking

Energy Efficiency, Environmental

AEP supports FirstEnergy’s request for zero-emission tax credits

FirstEnergy is requesting approval from Ohio legislatures for zero-emission tax credits to keep two nuclear power plants—the Davis-Besse plant and the Perry plant—afloat, UtilityDive reports. Fellow Ohio utility American Electric Power (AEP) has expressed support for those subsidies, so long as AEP customers do not pay for them. FirstEnergy’s proposal would keep those plants “generating carbon-free energy through their expected lifespan,” but “the extra costs would be borne by consumers and could affect market revenues for gas generators.” 

FirstEnergy and AEP “both won support for struggling coal and nuclear generation from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio” last year, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “subsequently blocked the deals, leading to talk of plant sales and re-regulation as many aging baseload plants struggle to compete with low-cost natural gas and renewable energy.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Miscellaneous

Columbus’s Smart City efforts part of plan to become “nation’s teacher”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has ambitious plans for the city’s Smart City efforts, saying “the plan is for Columbus to become ‘the nation’s teacher in how to become a Smart City,’” Columbus Business First reports. At a recent press conference, Ginther announced the hiring of the city’s “first chief innovation officer to lead the Smart City effort”: former deputy director of the Columbus Department of Development, Mike Stevens. Ginther also “said the Smart City effort has secured $367 million in public and private investment pledges to complement the initial $40 million in funding approved by the federal government,” according to the article. That amount includes $31 million from the city “primarily toward clean energy initiatives by the Columbus Division of Power.” Most of the private funding has been pledged by American Electric Power, which has focused its investing in “new electric vehicle charging stations and a rollout of smart meters.” For more, read the full article.

Project Finance

For the first time, wind is U.S.’s top source of renewable energy capacity

Wind energy “grew at its second-fastest pace ever during the last three months of 2016,” passing conventional hydropower to “become the largest source of renewable electricity capacity in the U.S.,” according to a study by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), The Hill reports. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a statement, “American wind power is now the number one source of renewable capacity, thanks to more than 100,000 wind workers across all 50 states.” This U.S.-made “clean energy resource helps rural communities pay for new roads, bridges, and schools, while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt.” According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “wind power accounted for 4.7 percent of electricity generation in the United States” at the end of 2015; AWEA expects wind power will account for “10 percent of the U.S.’s electricity by 2020.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Wind

DP&L agreement would dump coal plants and develop renewable projects

Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) “has filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a settlement to its electric security plan (ESP) that would end its ownership in 2,093 MW of coal-fired generation and bring more renewable energy to Ohio,” nawindpower.com reports. The six-year settlement was reached “after months of intense negotiation,” according to the Sierra Club, which has also agreed to sign on to the settlement. The agreement would “retire the Killen and Stuart coal plants in June 2018” with DP&L committed to beginning a “sales process for its ownership shares” in three other coal plants. The utility also commits to developing “at least 300 MW of solar and wind energy projects in Ohio no later than 2022” and contributing “$565,000 annually to help DP&L low-income electricity consumers reduce their energy usage.” Additionally, DP&L will invest $35 million in the first year to deploy smart grid initiatives. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

Gov. Kasich vetoes bill that would weaken clean-energy standards

Ohio Governor John Kasich followed through with a promise he made earlier in 2016 to reject any further reduction to clean-energy standards (see our February 9, 2016 blog post) by vetoing House Bill 554, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The state’s standards for annual renewable energy and energy efficiency benchmarks were frozen in 2014 (see our June 13, 2014 blog post), but that freeze was due to expire at the end of 2016. House Bill 554, which passed both the House and Senate in December 2016, would have made energy efficiency and renewable energy standards “optional for the next two years, after which the mandates would have resumed,” according to the article. Gov. Kasich said the bill “amounts to self-inflicted damage to both our state’s near- and long-term economic competitiveness,” and said his veto was “in the public interest.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
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