PUCO ruling likely to reduce credits to net metering customers

Some Ohio electric utility customers who generate power through solar panels or other renewable energy systems may soon receive less credit for doing so, The Columbus Dispatch reports. A recent Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) ruling is likely to reduce the amount that electric utilities credit their net metering customers who send excess energy back to the grid. Under the revised regulations, credits for excess generation will be calculated based on the energy-only component of the utility’s standard service offer. That change means the credit to AEP customers, for example, could “be reduced by about 30 percent.” Trish Demeter, vice president for policy at the Ohio Environmental Council, called the ruling “a step back.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission

Solar, wind, and natural gas groups unite to oppose DOE proposal to support coal and nuclear plants

An alliance of 20 trade organizations representing wind, natural gas, and solar power industries is voicing opposition to the Department of Energy (DOE)’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, Cleveland.com reports. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal “argues that the large, old coal and nuclear plants, which run 24 hours a day, add ‘resiliency’ to the grid” that protects it during weather disruptions or terrorist attacks, according to the article. The trade groups counter that the Trump administration has not demonstrated “problems with the existing system,” and that the proposal would increase costs to consumers. The Ohio Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has also criticized the DOE plan (see our November 2, 2017 blog post). For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission, Wind

PUCO opposes U.S. Energy Secretary’s proposed subsidies for coal-fired and nuclear plants

Ohio utility regulators “have come out against” U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize nuclear and coal-fired power plants, saying that plan would cost the state’s electricity consumers billions, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Sec. Perry’s proposal “would create incentives for power plants that have their fuel on site, which would cover coal and nuclear but not other major fuels, such as natural gas and most renewables,” according to the article. Perry said, “[a] reliable and resilient electrical grid is critical not only to our national and economic security, but also to the everyday lives of American families.” The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) estimated the subsidies would cost $8.1 billion; PUCO issued a formal response saying it is “deeply concerned” about that high cost to consumers. For more, read the full article

Transmission

Officials from Lake, Ottawa Counties meet with DOE to discuss impact of nuclear plants on grid stability

Lake and Ottawa county commissioners met with Department of Energy (DOE) staff members recently to discuss “the need for timely intervention” to avoid closure of the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear energy plants in Ohio, among other issues related to the plants, The News-Herald reports. Additional topics included “the Zero Emission Credit legislation currently under discussion in the Ohio legislature” and the nuclear plants’ impact on the electricity grid, according to the article. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), DOE Secretary Rick Perry said, “America’s greatness depends on a reliable, resilient electric grid powered by an ‘all of the above’ mix of generation sources.” Perry also said the grid’s resiliency is “being threatened by premature retirement of these fuel-secure baseload resources.” “Baseload” refers to nuclear and coal-powered plants, because they use material stored on site, “which reduces the risk of interruptions in fuel supply.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Transmission

Second Lordstown power plant approved: 940-MW Trumbull Energy Center

The Ohio Power Siting Board recently approved construction of a second power plant to be built in Lordstown, the 940-megawatt (MW) Trumbull Energy Center, The Business Journal reports. Clean Energy Future will build the plant; the company also owns the Lordstown Energy Center already under construction in the village (see our October 6, 2015 blog post). The Power Siting Board also approved Clean Energy Future’s request to increase the capacity of the Lordstown Energy Center from 800 MW to 940 MW. Clean Energy Future-Trumbull “plans to begin construction on the second plant in November” and begin commercial operation in 2020. For more, read the full article

Transmission

Advancing Grid Storage Act will promote clean energy storage and grid reliability

Members of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee have introduced an act that will create clean-energy jobs and “help strengthen the country’s energy infrastructure,” nawindpower.com reports. Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Advancing Grid Storage Act, which “would accelerate investments in the deployment of energy storage systems,” which in turn will “create high-skill, sustainable jobs and will also help families and businesses save on their energy costs,” according to the article. A press release from the senators calls energy storage “key to improving our electricity grid,” saying “[a]dvanced storage technologies help match the energy demands of consumers and businesses in a cost-effective manner with minimal waste and strengthen the existing electricity transmission and distribution system.” For more, read the full article.

Sustainability, Transmission

FirstEnergy says nuclear subsidies are “crucial” for continued operation

Whether or not FirstEnergy retains ownership of the two nuclear power plants in Ohio, customer-paid subsidies are crucial to keep those plants operating, according to company president and CEO Chuck Jones, Cleveland.com reports. Jones said FirstEnergy will “continue to press Ohio lawmakers” for the legislation to provide that financial support (see our May 23, 2017 blog post), calling it “the right thing to do for the state of Ohio.” Without that Zero Emission Nuclear Resource program, Jones said “he doubted anyone could operate” the Perry and Davis-Besse plants due to competition from plants powered by natural gas, and even wind power at times, according to the article. Jones “thinks the switch particularly to gas turbine power plants could create both national security and economic development disasters,” due to a “very unsophisticated” bulk gas system that does not have the “redundancy that the bulk electric system has.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Sustainability, Transmission

Hudson considers adding solar panels to its electricity provider portfolio

The City of Hudson already “has solar panels on city-owned property . . . but could have a much larger solar presence” if a proposed project is finalized, the Hudson Hub-Times reports. Hudson’s electrical power consultant shared with City Council “a possible new solar project” that the “city could take part in to help with high peak energy days,” according to the article. John Courtney of Courtney & Associates, Hudson’s electric system consultant for Hudson Public Power (HPP), said a developer “could build and operate a Behind-The-Meter solar project for a municipality.” The city would pay only for the electrical power produced and “delivered to the city’s power grid.” Council member Casey Weinstein called the project “a great opportunity,” saying the city would “deliver power savings to HPP customers” while utilizing property “not suited for other development and contributing to keeping our air cleaner for our families.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, Solar, Transmission

Closing nuclear plants may cause carbon emissions to rise

The abundant supply of inexpensive natural gas has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade, but that trend could reverse as nuclear plants are pushed into retirement, The New York Times reports. The gas boom has “driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants” out of business, “a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016,” according to the article. However, nuclear power plants, which nationwide supply “one-fifth of the country’s electricity without generating any planet-warming greenhouses gases,” are having trouble competing with low-cost natural gas power plants. Six nuclear plants “have announced that they will close between now and 2025”; together, those plants generated “nearly 60 million megawatt-hours of electricity last year, more than all of America’s solar panels combined.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Transmission

Nuclear plants not needed to maintain grid reliability, PJM official says

Closing Ohio’s two nuclear power plants would not affect grid reliability, according to an official with PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, UtilityDive reports. Craig Glazer, vice president of federal government policy at PJM, said, “[t]he lights aren’t going to go out” if FirstEnergy closes the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants. FirstEnergy has requested a Zero Emission Nuclear Resource program to compensate the plants for producing clean, reliable power (see our May 23, 2017 blog post). Glazer, also a former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, said, “[t]here’s not a reliability problem. If you want to save [the nuclear plants] because of their jobs, because of economic development reasons or for tax revenue, that’s outside of our bailiwick.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Transmission
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