Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

Plans for three large solar farms in Ohio would add 400 MW of solar power

Ohio’s solar-generation capacity may soon see a drastic increase, as two companies have proposed three new solar projects, Columbus Business First reports. Currently, the largest solar array in Ohio is the 20-MW Bowling Green Solar Facility that began operations in January 2017 (see our February 13, 2017 blog post). However, Invenergy Renewables and Blue Planet Renewable Energy are looking to change that. Invenergy Renewables “wants to build a 150-megawatt solar-powered electric generation facility” in Hardin County as well as a 125-megawatt solar farm in Vinton County. Invenergy “is pivoting to solar” in part due to “restrictive regulations against wind power” in the state (see our July 5, 2017 blog post). Blue Planet Renewable Energy has proposed a “125-megawatt solar array in Brown County.” The three proposed solar project would “add an additional 400 megawatts of solar” capacity to Ohio’s current approximate “172 megawatts from 2,260 solar installations.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

Closing nuclear plants may cause carbon emissions to rise

The abundant supply of inexpensive natural gas has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade, but that trend could reverse as nuclear plants are pushed into retirement, The New York Times reports. The gas boom has “driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants” out of business, “a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016,” according to the article. However, nuclear power plants, which nationwide supply “one-fifth of the country’s electricity without generating any planet-warming greenhouses gases,” are having trouble competing with low-cost natural gas power plants. Six nuclear plants “have announced that they will close between now and 2025”; together, those plants generated “nearly 60 million megawatt-hours of electricity last year, more than all of America’s solar panels combined.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Transmission

Solar system will save Newcomerstown money and generate income

The village and citizens of Newcomerstown will see a “major savings” of both cost and energy from a planned solar system, according to a recent TimesReporter.com article. Verde Solutions was scheduled to begin work on the project this month; the company’s Director of Renewables Chris Yurko says the solar system will save the village $133,680 annually. Those savings “will eventually benefit all citizens who are utilizing the waste water system,” according to the article. Additionally, the system “will also create an additional income for the village.” Yurko added that “Newcomerstown will be the first in the state of Ohio to use a solar system” to “operate their waste water system.” For more, read the full article

 

Renewable Energy, Solar

Wind and solar made up more than half of new U.S. capacity in 2017’s first quarter

Wind and solar power “provided more than half of the new electrical generating capacity added to the U.S. grid” during the first quarter of 2017, nawindpower.com reports. A new report from the SUN DAY Campaign, which cites statistics from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said wind and solar together contributed 50.84% of new capacity during that period. Additionally, renewable sources “now account for almost one-fifth (19.51%) of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity.” If growth rates continue at the current pace, “renewables should top 20% before the end of the year”; renewable generating capacity is “rapidly approaching that of coal (24.25%),” according to the group’s analysis. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind

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
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