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

Ohio offers $11M in tax credits as Amazon eyes two more facilities in state

Monroe and North Randall could be the newest Ohio locations for Amazon distribution centers, and the state is offering $11.6 million in tax credits to help make that happen, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Amazon “officially announced plans for the North Randall project” that includes a $100 million investment “to develop an 855,000-square-foot center employing 2,000 workers earning $55.4 million a year,” according to the article. Amazon would invest $30 million in the Monroe project, which is expected to create “1,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $26.7 million if the company goes ahead with the project.” The Dayton Business Journal reports that a JobsOhio spokesperson “said it will continue to work with the company” and that the combined $11.6 million tax credit from The Ohio Tax Credit Authority was “an important step.” For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Business Journal articles. 

Manufacturing, Logistics & Transp., Project Finance

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

Energy Works and Finance Authority partner to offer green energy financing

Two local programs are working together to promote sustainability by offering low-interest loans to Franklin County businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments for green energy upgrades. Franklin County Commissioners established Energy Works in 2015 to help keep Columbus green and attract new businesses. The Commissioners plan to commit $1.5 million annually for five years for energy upgrades to aging buildings as well as other green energy projects. The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority’s Energy Loan Fund is an economic development tool providing financing for energy efficiency improvements. The Finance Authority uses funds from Energy Works as well as its own funds to provide low-interest loans ranging from $200,000 to $6 million for projects such as PNC Plaza’s (see our March 17, 2016 blog post) and Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s energy upgrades.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Sustainability

Greenworks offering PACE financing for energy upgrades to Ohio businesses

Connecticut-based finance company Greenworks Lending is expanding into Ohio to offer commercial building owners Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing for energy upgrades, Cleveland.com reports. Aaron Kraus, director of market activation for Greenworks, said PACE is “very low-cost capital over a length of time that you would not be able to get in any other manner” because loans are repaid through assessments added to property taxes. Greenworks is “looking for owners of medium and small buildings who want to cut their energy bills” without having to make a down payment, according to the article. The company’s first financing project in the Greater Cleveland area is the “$82,500 energy-efficient ‘cool roof’” on the headquarters for Mammana Custom Woodworking. Bricker & Eckler served as PACE counsel for the project. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Funding Opportunities, Project Finance

First PACE project in Sycamore Township completed

Kids First Sports Center is the first building in Sycamore Township to complete an energy-efficiency project with PACE financing, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The 108,000-square-foot youth sports facility and preschool “used PACE to finance a $650,000 energy improvement project that included the installation of rooftop solar energy panels . . . the replacement of fluorescent lighting with LED lighting and the installation of new insulation panels in the facility’s gymnasium,” according to the article. In a press release, Kids First owner Jeff Metzger said the improvements “will reduce the facility’s energy costs by 50 percent” and called PACE “a tremendous approach to improving buildings and the environment.” Bricker & Eckler served as PACE counsel for the project. The PACE program provides financing for the total cost of energy projects, and the loans are repaid through special assessments on the property’s tax bill (see our Energy SIDs & Pace Financing Resource Center).  For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Solar

Lender encouraging Ohio businesses to use PACE financing for energy upgrades

Connecticut-based Greenworks Lending “is making a major push into Ohio” to promote Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for business owners, Columbus Business First reports. PACE is a financing tool for clean-energy improvements in which loans are paid back through assessments to the property tax bill. This enables building owners to “start a major, long-term energy project with no upfront costs that can be repaid over years with a private capital provider,” according to the article. Ohio’s “aging building stock” makes it an attractive market for Greenworks. The company’s director of market activation and policy, Aaron Kraus, said the best candidates for the PACE program are “mid-market buildings that need extensive capital upgrades — things like new boilers, chillers, lighting or solar panels in medical offices, warehouse and retail strips.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

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.” 

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, Sustainability

Columbus’s Smart City efforts part of plan to become “nation’s teacher”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has ambitious plans for the city’s Smart City efforts, saying “the plan is for Columbus to become ‘the nation’s teacher in how to become a Smart City,’” Columbus Business First reports. At a recent press conference, Ginther announced the hiring of the city’s “first chief innovation officer to lead the Smart City effort”: former deputy director of the Columbus Department of Development, Mike Stevens. Ginther also “said the Smart City effort has secured $367 million in public and private investment pledges to complement the initial $40 million in funding approved by the federal government,” according to the article. That amount includes $31 million from the city “primarily toward clean energy initiatives by the Columbus Division of Power.” Most of the private funding has been pledged by American Electric Power, which has focused its investing in “new electric vehicle charging stations and a rollout of smart meters.” For more, read the full article.

Project Finance

OSU’s energy privatization plan attracts “world’s leading experts”

In a recent email to students, faculty and staff at The Ohio State University, the school said “some of the world’s leading experts in energy conservation and management want to help Ohio State meet our goals,” referring to OSU’s plan to privatize the management of its energy resources (see our March 1, 2016 blog post), Columbus Business First reports. The goal of OSU’s Comprehensive Energy Management Project is “for another entity or entities to focus on ‘non-core’ university assets (as in, not educational), and for the university to use revenue from the partnership on academic endeavors (see our March 5, 2015 blog post),” according to the article. OSU is “finalizing materials to send out requests for proposals” from six finalists identified during an application process (see our September 12, 2016 blog post) that began after OSU started exploring the possibility of privatization about two years ago. For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance
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