Potential benefits of microgrids for hospitals

For hospitals, a major power outage can pose a serious threat to the health of patients. In the wake of various hurricanes and severe storms in 2017, there has been a renewed focus on ways to increase reliability and resiliency for hospitals beyond traditional backup diesel generators. One option that has been discussed recently is microgrids. This article discusses what constitutes a microgrid and summarizes some of the potential benefits microgrids can provide hospitals. In addition, this article discusses AEP-Ohio’s proposed microgrid demonstration project. If AEP-Ohio’s proposal is accepted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (the Commission), a medical facility within AEP-Ohio’s service territory may be eligible to be selected to host a microgrid. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency

ASHTA Chemicals $100M project will upgrade energy efficiency and environmental friendliness

A chemical products manufacturer in Ashtabula Township “has started work on a $100 million project” to improve its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, the Star Beacon reports. ASHTA Chemicals makes “chlorine and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and other chemical products used for water treatment, pharmaceuticals, batteries, industrial cleaners and fertilizers,” according to the article. The company “has been using a mercury cell process to make its products” for decades, but will switch to a “membrane cell technology” process, which will eliminate the use of mercury and reduce energy costs “by about 25 percent.” ASHTA President Brad Westfall said, “[t]his investment will allow us to operate our facility long into the future with significantly improved energy efficiency and increased production capacity,” as well as eliminating the use of mercury. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp.

Duke Energy’s proposed fee increase would hinder consumers’ efforts to save on energy

Using less electricity lowers your monthly utility bill, or at least it should. If Duke Energy’s proposal “to significantly raise its ‘customer fees’ is approved,” that might not be the case for many Cincinnati consumers, according to a recent Cincinnati.com opinion piece. Shannon Baker-Branstetter, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, writes that Duke Energy plans “to nearly quadruple these fixed customer fees — from about $72 a year to over $270 a year — even if energy use decreases.” Fixed or base fees apply to every customer, “in addition to separate fees that depend on how much energy you use.” Raising the fixed fees would erode the savings from energy-efficiency or energy-saving measures. According to the article, “dozens of Cincinnati residents” protested Duke’s proposal at recent public hearings. A similar recent proposal from AEP Ohio was dropped after Columbus residents protested. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency

Groups work together to create and expand Akron Summit County ESID

The Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA), along with Summit County and Akron, Barberton and Coventry Township, teamed up to create and expand the Akron Summit County Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), according to a recent DFA newsletter. The ESID enables property owners “to finance energy efficiency improvements” such as lighting, heating and air conditioning, new windows and roofing through a special property assessment, the article reports. Energy efficiency projects “can be financed in a number of ways,” including through a Northern Ohio Public Energy Consortium (NOPEC) revolving loan fund, “DFA Jobs & Investment Bond Fund and various private lenders.” Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro said the plan is to continue working “to expand the ESID to all Summit County communities within the next year.” 

 

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

New Lima Energy Special Improvement District would help businesses fund energy upgrades

Several groups are working together to help Lima create an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) so businesses can get help funding “utility and energy efficiency improvements,” The Lima News reports. Lima City Council “will vote on approving” the ESID recently created “under the lead of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce,” according to the article. Chamber President and CEO Jed Metzger said, “[t]o do an energy improvement district, you have to have a lead organization . . . to do the energy audit” and to do the energy upgrades. The district “would work with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to secure funds for small businesses to improve such areas as lighting and heat as well as energy efficiency improvements, such as new windows or even roof work.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

Ohio leads the U.S. in number of LEED-certified schools

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently honored the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for “assisting more than 300 K-12 buildings across the state to achieve LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification,” The Sunbury News reports. That number places Ohio ahead of every other state in the country; second-place California has 121 LEED-certified schools, according to the article. Ohio’s LEED-certified schools are “designed, on average, to be 33 percent more energy efficient, reduce potable water consumption by 35 percent, and provide healthier learning environments for children.” In addition, the program has a local economic impact: “through LEED, the OFCC has spent approximately $1.4 billion dollars to purchase products and materials” within 500 miles of each project. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental

Akron’s Energy Special Improvement District expanded to all of Summit County

Summit County Council recently voted to “expand the Akron Energy Special Improvement District [ESID] throughout the county” to offer an incentive to organizations to “make energy-efficient improvements,” Cleveland.com reports. Businesses, local governments, and nonprofits “will be eligible to fund energy-efficient lighting upgrades, roof repairs, window repairs and other energy-efficient renovations through the Property Assessed Clean Energy program,” known as PACE, according to the article. The program allows commercial property owners to finance those improvements and repay the loans through property assessments. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro said the expansion “will create economic development opportunities that are not only energy efficient but financially beneficial for our largest cities and our smallest townships.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will install state’s largest solar array on Polaris building

JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to start construction this fall on a 20-megawatt solar array on its largest building worldwide, the McCoy Center at Polaris, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The array, which will be the “largest rooftop solar array in the state,” is part of the bank’s plans “to rely exclusively on renewable energy by 2020,” according to the article. The generating capacity of the array is “about two-thirds of the electricity needed to run the building.” Chase also plans to invest $200 billion by 2025 “to finance clean-energy projects for corporate and investor clients around the world.” Jamie Dimon, Chase’s CEO, said in a statement, “[t]his global investment leverages the firm’s resources and our people’s expertise to make our operations more energy efficient and provide clients with the resources they need to develop more sustainable products and services.” For more, read the full article

 

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar, Sustainability

O’Bleness Hospital’s energy efficient lighting upgrade provides multiple benefits

A “major overhaul” of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital’s lighting system will not only save money on energy costs, but also improve safety and sustainability, The Athens Messenger reports. The hospital converted all of its lights to light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures that will use one-third of the energy conventional lights use, according to the article. O’Bleness President Mark Seckinger said the upgrade will not only lower energy costs, but also improve the facility for patients, enhance campus safety and “allow us to be responsible environmental stewards.” The conversion to LED lights “will prevent 775 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere,” an amount equal to what a passenger vehicle would produce driving 1.8 million miles. It is estimated that “the parking lot will become 50 percent brighter at night,” increasing visibility for staff, patients and visitors. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Sustainability

ODSA program offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s Energy Loan Fund is accepting applications from eligible organizations seeking low-interest financing for energy efficiency improvements. The fund offers loans from $250,000 up to $2.5 million for projects to install efficiency measures that reduce energy by at least 15 percent. Those eligible to apply include small businesses, manufacturers, local governments, nonprofit organizations, school districts, colleges and universities. For program guidelines and information on the application process, click here.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance
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