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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.
OSU selects partner for energy management in $1.165 billion deal
Ohio State University (OSU) trustees recently approved “a $1.165 billion deal to hand its energy systems over to a private company,” Gongwer Ohio reports. The 50-year lease of the university’s energy systems management was awarded to ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure, one of three teams that made it to the final round of bidding on the project (see our March 24, 2017 blog post). Gongwer reports that “[i]n addition to that upfront $1 billion payment, the deal includes a $150 million commitment to specific academic areas and the creation of a $50 million Energy Advancement and Innovation Center.” OSU’s annual costs will include a “$45 million fixed fee to rise with inflation, a $9.2 million starting operating fee and a variable fee tied to capital investments.”
Second attempt to repeal renewable energy standards passes Ohio House
After Governor John Kasich vetoed a previous bill that would have drastically weakened clean energy standards in the state (see our January 12, 2017 blog post), a second bill to repeal renewable energy mandates has passed the House, UtilityDive reports. House Bill 114 (HB 114) now goes to the Senate; some changes from the previous bill include “limiting the amount ratepayers will pay for energy efficiency profits that accrue to the utility,” according to the article. Cleveland.com reports that HB 114 “makes the renewable energy mandates voluntary goals and completely erases them from law in 2026” (see our March 23, 2017 blog post) and “dilutes the requirement that traditional electric utilities reduce peak demand by developing energy efficiency programs for their customers.” For more, read the full UtilityDive and Cleveland.com articles.
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.
OSU President Drake says energy privatization needed to meet sustainability goals
Appearing on a recent episode of WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” Ohio State University (OSU) President Michael Drake said the university’s plan to privatize its energy management “is necessary to reduce the campus’s carbon emissions and energy footprint,” thelantern.com reports. OSU began exploring the possibility of outsourcing its energy management to save money and increase energy efficiency over two years ago (see our March 5, 2015 blog post). Drake said the university needs a partner that can help them “achieve our sustainability goals” and that he hopes “the university becomes more efficient in the way it uses energy through the privatized arrangement,” according to the article. “We have certain buildings now that are too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer . . . I think we can just do a better job at managing our energy,” he said. Leading experts from around the world have expressed interest in partnering with OSU in this project (see our November 4, 2016 blog post). For more, read the full article.
PUCO announces "grid modernization" initiative
At its March 8, 2017, meeting, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) formally unveiled its grid modernization initiative, referred to as “PowerForward.” As the described by the commission:
PowerForward is the PUCO’s review of the latest in technological and regulatory innovation that could serve to enhance the consumer electricity experience. Through this series, we intend to chart a clear path forward for future grid modernization projects, innovative regulations and forward-thinking policies.
For more, read the full article.
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.
PUCO approves AEP-Ohio’s plan for energy efficiency programs
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently “adopted an agreement to allow AEP-Ohio to continue and expand its energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs through 2020,” according to a PUCO press release. AEP-Ohio “will offer a variety of programs” to help both residential and commercial customers reduce their energy demand; programs include “efficient product rebates and incentives, appliance recycling programs, in-home energy audits, home weatherization assistance, and various educational and training programs.” The PUCO is responsible for evaluating utilities’ “energy efficiency and peak demand portfolio programs, which must be cost-effective in reducing energy usage or peak demand consistent with state policy.” For more, read the full press release.
OMA Energy Guide details five game-changing Ohio energy projects
The Ohio Manufacturers' Association recently released a report on what it considers to be the top five energy projects currently under development in Ohio, including a look at how each project impacts Ohio energy consumers' bottom lines. These projects represent more than $30 billion in investment over the past five years, and have afforded Ohio residents lower energy prices.
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.