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Proposed Ohio bill would support state’s nuclear power plants
Ohio legislators have introduced a bill to create a Zero Emission Nuclear Resource (ZEN) program to help keep the state’s nuclear power plants operating, UtilityDive reports. Senate Bill 128 (SB 128) would create the program to compensate “FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants for the ‘clean, reliable and secure power they generate,’” according to the article. Two of FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants are in Ohio: the Perry and Davis-Besse plants. In a press release, SB 128 sponsor Sen. John Eklund (R) said “customers with a nuclear plant in their service territory would see a ‘small increase’ in their monthly electric bills” if the bill passes. For more, read the full article.
Anheuser-Busch commits to 100% renewable energy by 2025
The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, “has announced a commitment to secure 100% of the company’s purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025,” nawindpower.com reports. AB InBev “expects to secure 75%–85% of electricity through direct power purchase agreements” and the final 15%–25% from “on-site technologies such as solar panels.” AB InBev’s commitment to 100% renewable electricity will make it “the largest corporate direct purchaser of renewable electricity in the consumer goods sector globally and will reduce the company’s operational carbon footprint by 30%.” This reduction is “the equivalent of taking nearly 500,000 cars off the road.”
This recent announcement is in line with Anheuser-Busch’s previous commitments to sustainability and efficiency, including its previous $18 million update to the Columbus brewery (see our July 1, 2015 blog post). For more, read the full article.
What does repeal of the Clean Power Plan mean for the environment?
President Trump recently signed an executive order rescinding the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) (see our June 9, 2014 blog post), a move that eliminates the nation’s first mandate for power plants to reduce carbon emissions. Without that mandate, “America’s electrical power industry could continue to emit high levels of CO2,” according to Ken Kimmell, president of science advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, in a recent CBSnews.com article. The CPP would have helped the nation move toward “cleaner sources, like [natural] gas, and even really clean sources, like renewable energy, such as wind and solar,” which would provide “significant health benefits,” Kimmell said in the article. Cleveland.com reports that White House spokesman Sean Spicer said dismantling the CPP will “strengthen the nation’s energy security by ‘reducing unnecessary regulatory obstacles that restrict the responsible use of domestic energy resources.’” For more, read the full CBSnews.com 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.
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.
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.
Movement on Camp Perry turbine project “rekindles” lawsuit
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is again joining forces with northwest Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory “on a lawsuit to block the Ohio National Guard’s plan” for a $1.5 million commercial-scale wind turbine at Camp Perry, The Toledo Blade reports. The two groups sent a “notice of intent to file the lawsuit within 60 days unless the military agrees to nix its plans” for the project, according to the article. This action is in response to a concrete foundation being laid for the turbine before a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the turbine’s potential impacts has been completed. Stephanie Beougher, a public information officer for the Adjutant General’s Department in Columbus, said in a statement that the Ohio Air National Guard will continue to work to ensure that “if the project goes forward, it will be done in compliance with the applicable regulatory and legal requirements.” Michael Hutchins, ABC’s bird-smart wind energy campaign director, called the location “one of the most sensitive areas in the United States. Even a single turbine in the wrong place can have destructive impacts.” For more, read the full article.
State support for clean energy could bring thousands of jobs and millions in savings, report says
The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund recently released a report showing that “Ohio would gain thousands of jobs and consumers would save millions of dollars on utility bills if the state increases its support for clean-energy policies,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. That support could bring Ohio as much as $28.8 million to $50.9 million savings in consumers’ electricity bills by 2030 and as many as 82,300 to 136,000 new jobs, the report says. This forecast is “the latest of many from national environmental groups that make the case that Ohio would be wise, financially and otherwise, to embrace clean-energy technology,” according to the article. Those groups are looking ahead to the expiration of the two-year freeze on renewable energy and energy efficiency standards (see our June 13, 2014 blog post), while some state lawmakers “are trying to gather support for proposals that would extend the freeze or at least make the requirements optional in the short term (see our October 3, 2016 blog post).” For more, read the full article.
Whirlpool investing $13.5 million to add more wind technology at Ohio plants
Whirlpool Corp. recently broke ground on “a $3.3-million wind-turbine project” at its Ottawa, Ohio freezer assembly plant, extending the company’s commitment to renewable energy, The Toledo Blade reports. The 1.5-megawatt (MW) turbine, built and funded by One Energy LLC of Findlay, “will generate more than 30 percent of the plant’s power needs,” according to the article. Whirlpool will also “build three wind turbines at its clothes dryer plant in Marion, Ohio,” which will provide 19 percent of that plant’s power needs. The company is investing a total of $13.5 million in wind technology for its Ohio plants. Ron Voglewede, global sustainability director for Whirlpool, said, “[w]ind power is a key component of our commitment to environmentally responsible operations and manufacturing. We’re also excited for the opportunity to put our global commitment to sustainability into practice at a local level here in Ohio — where we have made a significant commitment to manufacturing, including by employing approximately 10,000 manufacturing employees.” For more, read the full article.
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.