Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

Several groups helping make Northeast Ohio greener

Businesses and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are increasingly looking to reduce energy costs and lessen their environmental impact; environmentalists and other advocates say several organizations are helping make that happen, reports. KeyBank’s Key4Green business segment is “a group of bankers who understand the (renewable energy) industry, and they help clients understand tax implications and the tax credits available,” the article reports. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is in the permitting process to build six offshore wind turbines several miles off the Lake Erie coast (see our August 25, 2017 blog post). Rust Belt Riders “collect food waste that would normally go into the garbage and distribute it” to urban farmers and community gardeners to use as fertilizer, diverting the waste from landfills. The Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that “helps building owners and property managers reduce their electricity use and lower CO2 emissions.” For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Wind

Cincinnati ranks in top five solar cities in Midwest

Environment Ohio's Shining Cities 2018 report shows Cincinnati is "the leading solar city" in Ohio as well as one of the "top five solar cities in the Midwest," Soapbox Cincinnati reports. The report categorizes Cincinnati as a "Solar Leader," meaning the city has between 25 and 50 watts of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed per capita. "Solar Leader" is the second-highest designation a city can earn. For more, read the full article or click here for the full report.

Renewable Energy, Solar

St. Clairsville, Caldwell prisons awarded $11M in OAQDA financing for energy upgrades

A proposed energy conservation project at two Ohio prisons will receive $11 million in financing from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) to help fund upgrades to reduce energy and water consumption, The Daily Jeff reports. Johnson Controls Inc., will use the OAQDA financing for the installation of lighting retrofits, enhanced energy management systems, and water conservation measures at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville and Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell. The project is expected to “reduce utility bills, operations and maintenance at both facilities combined by $1,042,360.17 annually, or approximately 21 percent,” according to the article. The resulting carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions reduction will be equivalent to the amount produced by 1,137 cars on the road or 573 homes’ electricity usage. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance

Fifth Third plans to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp recently became the first bank and first Fortune 500 company “to contract for 100 percent renewable power through a single new project,” The Toledo Blade reports. The company announced a power purchase agreement that will result in the construction of a $200-million, 80-megawatt solar project in North Carolina, which will generate about 194,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 144,000 metric tons each year, equivalent to emissions produced by 30,800 passenger cars or 21,600 homes. Scott Hassell, Fifth Third’s vice president and director of environmental sustainability, said the company has been working for years to increase sustainability and energy efficiency. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

U.S. Energy storage surpasses 1,000 MWh deployed, no longer “nascent”

After reaching a significant milestone in 2017, with more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) now deployed, the U.S. energy storage market is poised for a breakout in 2018, reports. The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year-in-Review, released by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and GTM Research, forecasts the deployment of an additional 1,000 MWh this year. Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said, “[w]e’re going to have to strike the word ‘nascent’ from our vocabularies when describing the U.S. energy storage market.” Manghani cited falling costs and favorable policies as “core drivers of the market’s breakout in 2018.” A recent ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) intended to remove barriers to market entry that new technologies such as energy storage faced under previous market rules (see our March 8, 2018 blog post). For more, read the full article


FERC votes to remove barriers to “participation of electric storage resources” by RTOs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said its recently released final rule on electric storage participation will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale markets,” reports. The FERC “voted to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs),” according to the article. The commission noted in a November 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that “market rules designed for traditional generation resources can create barriers to entry for emerging technologies such as electric storage resources.” The final rule helps to remove those barriers by requiring each RTO “to revise its tariff to establish a participation model for electric storage resources that consist of market rules that properly recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources.” For more, read the full article.


State approves two “huge solar energy farms” that will be largest in Ohio

The Ohio Power Siting Board recently approved two projects that when completed will become “the largest solar farms in the state,” Columbus Business First reports. Together, the two solar-powered electric plants will generate 275 megawatts (MW) of energy, according to the article. Blue Planet Renewable Energy got approval to construct its 125-MW Hillcrest Solar I farm on 1,100 acres east of Cincinnati. The company “estimates that it will add 644 construction jobs and $43.3 million in earnings during construction and create 17 jobs and $1 million a year in earnings during operations.” Hardin Solar Energy received approval “to build a 150-megawatt energy plant” near Bowling Green. Hardin Solar “estimates the project will create 768 jobs that will generate $45.6 million in earnings during construction, and 13 long-term jobs that will generate $758,000 in annual earnings during operation.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, Solar

Duke Energy settlement will fund energy efficiency financing for consumers

A new program will allow Ohio residential Duke Energy service customers to apply for interest-free loans for energy efficiency upgrades, reports. As part of Duke Energy’s $80 million settlement in an overbilling dispute, the utility has awarded a $500,000 grant to energy analytics firm EmpowerSaves and housing nonprofit Cincinnati Development for the program. Officials “hope to lend out the $500,000 to roughly 200 to 250 homeowners or landlords to each make upwards of $3,500 worth of energy improvements” including insulation and smart thermostats, according to the article. Customers will pay back the loans “over three to five years with the savings from the upgrades.” As the money is paid back, it would be loaned out again. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities

Energy efficiency company says its services can save Youngstown millions

Could energy efficiency savings cover a projected $2.5 million to $3 million budget shortfall for the city of Youngstown? Energy Management Services LLC thinks so; the company’s energy engineer, Jennifer Stofko, emailed city officials asking for a meeting to discuss how Energy Management could “potentially save the city $2.5 million,” according to a recent article in The Vindicator. Carl Avers, a consultant for Energy Management, said “the company encourages the use of LED lighting and teaches building owners how to better manage energy.” Avers said, “[w]e install more-efficient motors, more-efficient fans and chillers, and where they are not on a district steam system, we put in more-efficient boilers.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency

Ohio tops list of states for carbon emissions reduction from 2005 to 2015

Despite the back-and-forth legislative debate over Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards (see our October 3, 2016 blog post), the state cut 50 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year over a ten-year period, more than any other state, Crain’s Cleveland reports. That reduction is largely a result of utility companies closing coal-fired power plants, according to the article. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has “closed 10 plants since 2010”; company spokesperson Jennifer Young said, “[i]n Ohio alone, we have reduced our carbon emissions from 2005 by 71%, and almost all of that is from plant retirements.” Information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows Ohio’s “annual carbon output for the period dropped from its peak of 132.6 million metric tons in 2005 to 82.6 million metric tons in 2015.” For more, read the full article

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