AEP funding OSU research on cyber-resilient power grids

Columbus-based American Electric Power has provided a $250,000 grant for Ohio State University (OSU) to research cyber-resilient power grids, Columbus Business First reports. OSU’s Electric Power Grid Research Group will conduct the research into making “electric power distribution networks safer from cyber attacks,” according to the article. Julie Sloat, president and COO of AEP Ohio, said in a statement, “[i]ncreased connectivity creates new entry points for potential attackers and poses new challenges for grid security, so we are thrilled we are able to provide this funding.” David Williams, dean of the OSU College of Engineering, said in the statement, “[e]lectric power generation and distribution are areas of great interest to all of us, not just now, but into the future. . . . The security of our electric power system goes right to the heart of our civilization.” For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Champaign County wind farm project granted extension

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) recently granted an extension to “two phases of a proposed wind farm in Champaign County,” giving the developers until May 2019 to begin construction, the Journal-News reports. The OPSB sided with the developer, Everpower Wind Holdings, “who argued the extensions were needed because years of litigation by opponents had delayed the project,” according to the article. The board’s decision extends the certificate for two proposed phases of the project, Buckeye Wind and Champaign Wind, which would install about 50 wind turbines across sections of the county. The OPSB ruled against a group of residents opposed to the project, stating they had “long ago missed a deadline to have a say in the process and instead relied on a separate group of opponents,” Union Neighbors United (UNU), to protect their interests. UNU reached a settlement with the developers last year. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Pennsylvania joins Ohio, other states offering PACE financing

Congratulations to Ohio’s neighboring state Pennsylvania for joining a group of more than 30 states, including Ohio, that authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to help finance energy upgrades. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed legislation establishing the state’s PACE program, which enables funding for energy upgrades to be paid back through property assessments, according to a news release on the governor’s website. The legislation “represents a triple win,” creating new clean energy jobs, saving small businesses money on energy bills, and promoting cleaner air and water by increasing clean energy sources. For more, read the full release

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Renewable Energy

Ohio House bill takes another swing at renewable energy mandates

A revised version of Ohio House Bill 114 (HB 114) would require utilities to “find more of their power from renewable sources like solar and wind,” but lower the mandated amounts from the original standards created in 2008, The Toledo Blade reports. HB 114’s new final mandate calls for 8.5 percent renewable power by 2022 instead of 12.5 percent by 2027, while also requiring utilities to “reduce electricity use by 17.2 percent, down from 22.2 percent, by 2027.” Additionally, the bill proposes changing wind turbine setback requirements to 1,125 feet from the nearest habitable residence for wind farms generating at least 5 megawatts of power. Current regulations require a setback of 1,125 feet from the nearest property line. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Ohio Communities Accelerator Fund closes $7.5M transaction for sports complex

The Warren County Port Authority (WCPA)’s newly created Ohio Communities Accelerator Fund (OCAF) recently closed on its “first bond fund transaction,” a $7.5-million transaction for the Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Warren County Sport Complex at Union Village, according to a news release. The Complex, scheduled to open in 2019, “will welcome over 700,000 visitors and sports enthusiasts annually” to the county. Tourism is Warren County’s largest industry, with “over $2 billion in annual economic impact,” according to the release. 

The bonds were “privately placed at a fixed rate of 3.36%; Bricker & Eckler LLP served as Bond Counsel. OCAF is a lending program “designed to make capital available to public communities and private parties that seek to develop new or support existing capital assets.” 

Economic Development, Project Finance

Couple ties the knot at One Energy wind campus in Findlay, Ohio

On June 2, 2018, One Energy technical manager Erin Kashawlic and her soon-to-be husband held their marriage ceremony at the One Energy North Findlay Wind Campus that she helped develop and construct. According to North American Wind Power, the wedding offered turbine tours and yard games for guests, as well as oversized pinwheel decorations. Kashawlic and groom Chris Roekle chose the site so their guests could see their home city and wind energy from a different angle. “Erin and Chris exchanging vows just a couple hundred feet from the spinning turbines, surrounded by family and friends, was a perfect backdrop to a beautiful day,” said Angela DeBoskey, head of storytelling for One Energy.

Miscellaneous, Renewable Energy

City of Dayton agrees to loan $10M for Dayton Arcade revival

The Dayton City Commission has agreed to loan up to $10 million to the Dayton Arcade LLC to complete the funding for a project that will become “another major downtown destination,” the Dayton Daily News reports. The revitalization of the nine-building complex “would have the same kind of dramatic and far-reaching impact as the opening of Fifth Third Field in 2000 and the Schuster performing arts center three years later,” Dayton officials and local economic developers leaders said in the article. The arcade will create jobs, increase the tax base for the city, draw new investment, and provide “affordable housing for young creative types and professionals and high-demand urban amenities, including restaurants and other retail.” The loan is one of the city’s largest economic development investments “since the construction of the Schuster Center and the ballpark where the Dayton Dragons play.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

Power plant projects investing more than $4.6B in Mahoning Valley

Investment numbers for several new energy plants in the Mahoning Valley are “unlike any the region has witnessed in decades,” totaling more than $4.6 billion, The Business Journal reports. The abundance of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales “has emerged as the fulcrum” for the future of the energy industry, according to the article. Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future LLC, said, “[w]hat’s happening in the industry right now is equivalent to the automobile replacing the horse and buggy,” as aging coal-fired and nuclear plants’ higher operating costs make it harder for them to compete with natural gas and combined-cycled plants. Clean Energy Future developed the Lordstown Energy Center and is working on a second Lordstown plant, both valued at about $890 million (see our October 13, 2017 blog post). Advanced Power “plans to invest $1.1 billion” in its South Field Energy plant in Columbiana County. Across Ohio, “11 new combined-cycle electrical generation plants worth an estimated $10.5 billion are either recently completed, under construction or in the planning or permit stages.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, State Updates

Amazon plans fourth central Ohio fulfillment center, adding 1,500 jobs

Online retail giant Amazon is planning another expansion of its presence in central Ohio with a fourth fulfillment center, this one in West Jefferson, Columbus Business First reports. The state-of-the-art, 855,000-square-foot sorting facility will create an additional 1,500 full-time jobs, according to the article. Kenny McDonald, president and CEO of Columbus 2020, said in a statement, “Amazon is quickly becoming one of the Columbus region’s largest and most important employers.” Amazon’s vice president of North America Customer Fulfillment, Mark Stewart, said the company’s growth in Ohio is “the result of an outstanding workforce and incredible customers.” For more, read the full article.  

Economic Development, State Updates

Butler County looking at clean technology for public transportation

Officials in Butler County would like to bring hydrogen fuel cell or battery electric powered buses to the area to make local transportation cleaner and more sustainable, the Journal-News reports. The county needs to partner with a local agency or agencies to “fund the remainder of a vehicle’s price once federal grants are secured” to make that happen, according to the article. A diesel bus can cost $600,000, while a hydrogen fuel-cell bus is twice that at $1.2 million. Fuel cells “are considered safer than gasoline-powered vehicles and are two to three times more efficient,” reducing the amount of carbon emissions by 100 tons per vehicle. Butler County Regional Transit Authority Executive Director Matt Dutkevicz said battery electric or fuel-cell buses would be “a leap forward in local transportation in terms of reducing emissions and increasing sustainability.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental
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