Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

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

ONU begins construction on $4-million, 2-MW solar field

By the end of 2016, construction should be complete on Ohio Northern University (ONU)’s new 2-megawatt solar field that “will generate ten percent of ONU’s annual electricity,” hometownstations.com reports. Gem Energy of Walbridge, Ohio, “will design, construct, operate and maintain the project” consisting of 18,000 panels that will follow the sun for “maximum solar harvest,” according to the article. “The students with the administration have really tried to direct ourselves towards saving as much in terms of the environment utilizing renewable sources of energy,” said Terry Keiser, Director of Sustainability for ONU. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar