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Renewable energy tax credits making huge impact on U.S. jobs, economy
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says federal tax credit extensions for wind and solar power are creating “huge gains” for U.S. employment and the gross domestic product (GDP), nawindpower.com reports. The nonprofit NRDC “analyzed the impact of the tax credits” for wind and solar that Congress extended at the end of 2015. The group published its findings in a report that shows “Ohio will add more than 10,000 jobs in 2018, and the state’s GDP is expected to get a boost of nearly $1.2 billion that year.” Kevin Steinberger, policy analyst in the group’s Climate and Clean Air Program, said, “[g]ood tax policies to boost wind and solar projects are creating new jobs, growing our economy, and providing climate and public health benefits.” 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.
Ohio gained more than 1,000 solar industry jobs last year
A new report from The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit promoter of solar energy, found that “Ohio’s solar industry added more than 1,000 jobs last year,” Columbus Business First reports. According to the report, “Ohio’s solar industry rose to 5,831 jobs from 4,811 in 2015, a 21 percent increase.” Nationwide, solar employment increased 25 percent, and 44 states saw an increase in solar jobs last year. A solar job “is one in which an employee spends at least half of their time on work related to the renewable energy source.” For more, read the full article.
Bowling Green solar field already paying off
The 20-megawatt (MW) solar field that recently went online in Bowling Green (see our February 13, 2017 blog post) is “paying off” and “really contributing to Bowling Green’s economy,” according to city Utilities Director Brian O’Connell in a recent BG Falcon Media article. The field will reach the goal of producing up to 20 MW soon, O’Connell said; it has already come close, as Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards reported to city council that recently “the field powered out 19.6 MW.” O’Connell said the “power coming from the panels is already commercial” and will be “especially useful in the summer, when there’s a lot of sunlight and many people are cranking on their air conditioners.” Assistant Utilities Director Daril Stockburger said “the goal for the future is to get Bowling Green’s energy from renewable sources up to 38 percent.” For more, read the full article.
Bowling Green 20-MW solar project, largest in state, now online
American Municipal Power (AMP) recently announced that the 20-megawatt (MW) Bowling Green Solar Facility, “the largest solar installation in the State of Ohio” (see our September 21, 2016 blog post), began commercial operation in January 2017. The facility is made up of “more than 85,000 modules” that rotate to follow the path of the sun to maximize production. According to AMP’s Executive Vice President of Power Supply and Operations, the project will help “diversify AMP’s member power supply portfolios” and “reduce transmission costs and meet peaking needs.” For more, read AMP’s full press release.
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.
AEP, FirstEnergy have different strategies for meeting renewable energy requirements
Since Governor John Kasich vetoed Substitute House Bill 554, causing Ohio’s renewable energy standards to resume (see our January 12, 2017 blog post), “FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron will be required to boost the percentage of renewable energy it distributes to retail customers,” Cleveland.com reports. Doug Colafella, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy, said the utility “will likely buy renewable energy credits (RECs) and solar renewable credits (SRECs) in the fall to meet the mandate,” according to the article. While RECs and SRECs “do not represent actual purchases of electricity,” they “offset the cost of investments in renewable energy made by others.” American Electric Power (AEP) had previously announced plans to develop 500 megawatts (MW) of wind power and 400 MW of solar in Ohio (see our May 24, 2016 blog post), and the company “does not expect any problem meeting the renewable energy mandates.” For more, read the full article.
Contaminated Newark site will transform into solar energy field
An agreement with American Electric Power OnSite Partners will “transform a contaminated East Main Street site” in Newark, Ohio, into a 3,312-solar module energy field, the Newark Advocate reports. The city owns the land, but AEP Onsite Partners “will own the facility and sell electricity back to the city,” according to the article. The electricity generated will supply “about 30 percent of the power needs for the city’s adjacent wastewater treatment plant.” Dovetail Solar “will design and install the equipment”; Dovetail President Al Frasz said due to the cost of solar manufacturing decreasing so much over the past several years, “[w]e can get more energy in the same square footage, which helps the economics.” Newark Development Director Mark Mauter said due to the serious limitations on what the city can do with the contaminated site, the solar field is the “best possible outcome,” and because AEP will own the equipment, “[t]here’s no risk of taxpayers’ dollars.” For more, read the full article.
AEP has plans to invest $1 billion in renewable energy
Columbus-based American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP) is “dipping its toe” into the renewable energy business sector, with “plans to spend $1 billion” on renewables, Columbus Business First reports. Part of that total comes from AEP’s September 2016 sale of four power plants, three of them in Ohio, for $2.17 billion. The company has “formed two related subsidiaries, one that focuses on smaller-scale wind and solar projects and the other focused on larger projects,” according to the article. AEP Onsite Partners will target “solar projects that emit 1 to 5 megawatts of power and cost between $2 million and $15 million,” such as businesses, hospitals or schools that want to install rooftop solar systems. AEP Renewables will focus on utility-scale projects, “wind and solar farms whose power output is sold via long-term power purchase agreements to other utilities, cities and corporations that demand their businesses run on clean energy.” For more, read the full article.