Senate bill proposes federal standard for U.S. renewable electricity generation

The recently introduced Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Act of 2019 would put the United States “on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050,” reports. The Senate bill “is proposing a target of at least 50% renewable electricity nationwide” by 2035, by requiring electricity providers to increase their supply of renewable energy “by a percentage of total retail sales each year, starting in 2020,” according to the article. Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said the RES would “drive investment in our nation’s power generation infrastructure, improve affordability and reliability for our customers, and accelerate the ongoing transition to America’s renewable energy economy.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

Cleveland microgrid would protect against outages

Cuyahoga County’s Sustainability office has proposed a four-square-mile microgrid in and around downtown Cleveland that would protect the area against power outages (see our November 12, 2018 blog post), Crain’s Cleveland reports. The redundant power grid is billed as “a more resilient power source with less downtime and fewer brownouts” that would pair with Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Thermal, “with the addition of an ultra-efficient ‘smart grid’ technology,” according to the article. The Cleveland Foundation board of directors recently approved a $200,000 grant “to fund the management of the RFQ/RFP process” for the project. A multiyear feasibility study showed “companies moving into the microgrid area could generate more than 1,000 new jobs in the county, resulting in nearly $100 million in income” and additional tax revenues of approximately $2.8 million per year. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

New dates set for Seneca Wind Farm hearings

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has rescheduled the local public hearing for Seneca Wind LLC’s Seneca Wind Farm (see our April 24, 2019 blog post) for July 23, 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Tiffin University, The Advertiser-Tribune reports. The hearing “is to provide an opportunity for local people interested in the project area, who are not parties to the case, to provide testimony regarding the proposed facility,” according to the article. An adjudicatory hearing, at which Seneca Wind, OPSB staff and parties to the case may present evidence regarding the project, will take place August 26 at 10:00 a.m. at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Columbus. If approved, the wind farm “would be constructed on about 57,000 acres of leased private land in Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom townships,” with up to 77 turbines and a total generating capacity of up to 212 megawatts. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Bell featured on Debtwire: PACE financing likely to expand as a result of regulation, securitization

Issued by local government entities, PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) bonds allow residential or commercial property owners to finance energy improvement upgrades to their properties. Bonds may be issued and sold directly to the property owner, to a third-party lender, or to institutional investors. Until recently, as Bricker’s Public Finance Chair Caleb Bell notes in a recent article on Acuris’ Debtwire, PACE bonds have been mostly unregulated with only state and local legal requirements. In California, where stricter lending standards are taking shape, Bell notes, “those protections broaden into the actual ability of the homeowner to repay the loan,” resulting in a “much more solid product.” Bell adds that securitizations are becoming increasingly common in this sector and that commercial PACE financing is “becoming its own unique asset class.” These new developments in standardization and regulation are likely to increase the popularity of PACE bonds with investors.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Twinsburg plans to install EV charging stations with NOPEC grant money

Electric vehicle (EV) owners in the Twinsburg area may soon have more options to charge away from home, as the city plans to install one or more EV charging stations, MyTownNEO reports. Mayor Ted Yates said at a recent City Council meeting “the city’s $42,000 energized community grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council [NOPEC] will likely be used to create at least one station,” according to the article. Yates said “if the price is right” the city may consider multiple charging station locations, with installation complete by August or September. The primary goal of energized community grants “is to help communities implement energy savings or energy infrastructure measures.” Twinsburg has used previous grants to improve lighting in city buildings. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

Developer shares thoughts on Dayton’s downtown momentum

Jason Woodard, founder and principal of Dayton-based Woodard Development, has “played a key role in developing scores of projects” in the city’s downtown, including the Water Street District, and says the area continues to have “strong momentum in almost every aspect,” the Dayton Business Journal reports. Those aspects include strong housing, new restaurants and amenities opening, and an office market that continues to brighten with “significant activity from Stratacache and CareSource but also smaller growth companies,” Woodard said in the article. Woodard also noted “the recent progress of the Arcade should have a big impact on the core of the city.” The developer is currently working on projects with Crawford Hoying including Centerfield Flats, a new building for Marsh & McLennan, and several “other projects in predevelopment.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Warren County park solar project also combats pollinator habitat loss

A solar array that has been providing most of the electric power for Warren County’s 311-acre Armco Park during the daytime “is also designed to combat the loss of habitat” for pollinators, the Journal-News reports. The 256-kilowatt array’s “bee and butterfly factor” is what “puts it over the top,” said Jim Yockey, the contractor financing the array, according to the article. Since March, the 745-panel solar system has “been providing 90 to 95 percent of the electric power for the park’s 18-hole golf course, softball complex, tennis and basketball courts, restrooms, concession stand and other facilities.” The project is “expected to reduce the park’s ‘carbon footprint,’ while fighting declines in species needed to pollinate ‘about one third of the world-wide food supply.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Work begins on $300M Scioto Ridge wind farm

Innogy, a German renewable energy company, has officially started work on a 250-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Hardin and Logan counties, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The $300-million Scioto Ridge wind farm “is expected to become operational before the end of 2020,” according to the article. With 75 wind turbines, the wind farm “will generate enough electricity for about 60,000 homes,” and will create approximately 150 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Ohio legislature considering study of electric vehicle infrastructure issues

While purchases of electric vehicles (EV) rose from 1,630 in 2016 to 4,456 in 2018, a lack of charging infrastructure may be inhibiting EV market growth, a subject the Ohio legislature may soon explore. Ohio House Bill 202 “would create a 13-member Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Study Committee to explore issues related to electric vehicle infrastructure,” according to the article. Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio, said, “[o]ne of the most common reasons that consumers hesitate in buying electric vehicles right now is the lack of public charging infrastructure. . . .we face a classic ‘chicken vs. the egg’ situation in which consumers cite a lack of electric vehicle charging as a barrier, yet the private sector on its own can’t invest in this needed charging infrastructure due to the lack of an available market in the form of electric vehicles.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

Ohio plans to become fourth state to offer residential PACE financing

Joining California, Florida and Missouri, Ohio will soon be the fourth state to offer residential PACE (property assessed clean energy) programs. The City of Bexley in Franklin County and the City of Toledo in Lucas County have authorized agreements with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to offer residential PACE (RPACE), allowing homeowners in those cities access to low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements. Summit County will make RPACE financing available to homeowners in communities that have joined the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), reports. Homeowners who “are making energy efficiency improvements” to “HVAC, furnace, roofing, windows and doors, insulation” and other systems “can finance the up-front costs and then pay back the loans through a voluntary assessment” on their property tax bill, according to the article. Residential PACE is expected to roll out statewide by the end of 2019. For more on Summit County RPACE financing, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates
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