Lorain approves energy special improvement district

A project to rehabilitate The Broadway Building in Lorain will be eligible for a state energy direct loan, after Council members recently approved the creation of an energy special improvement district (ESID), The Chronicle reports. Developer Ariel on Broadway will be able to obtain a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loan of $1.6 million for energy improvements, a “crucial piece of financing,” according to Port Authority Director Tom Brown. Brown and attorney Caleb Bell of Bricker & Eckler LLP explained the ESID agreement to members of Council in a Committee of the Whole session. Bell explained that the $8 million project “will not have full financing” without the PACE loan. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

PUCO unveils roadmap for modernizing Ohio’s power grid

A “wave of change” in how consumers and businesses use electricity is coming, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is helping utilities prepare with its recently released report, “PowerForward: A Roadmap to Ohio’s Electricity Future,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. PUCO Chairman Asim Haque said, “[t]he grid has to be modernized, its infrastructure and method of delivery are many, many decades old,” according to the article. Columbus Business First reports Haque said that utilities must “undertake modernizations that take into account new technologies, renewable energy, electric vehicles, home interfaces like smart thermostats as well as big-picture security issues like emergent cybersecurity threats.” PUCO will use the report “as a framework as it regulates energy infrastructure investment in the coming years,” according to Columbus Business First. For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Business First articles. 

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Lake Erie litigation involving several environmental groups dismissed

Judge Carr issued an order on October 3, 2018, in Environmental Law and Policy Center, et al., v. U.S. EPA, et al., effectively dismissing the litigation and providing no clear path forward for challenges of Ohio EPA’s plan to delay pursuit of a TMDL for the open waters of Lake Erie. Judge Carr is highly critical of Ohio EPA and US EPA and states that the General Assembly and executive branch have “turned their backs on a long-standing, persistent, and possibly worsening problem.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental

Canton innovation district receives funding approval

The City of Canton, the Stark Community Foundation, and Cleveland-based nonprofit JumpStart Inc. will provide a total of $266,000 in yearly funding to the city’s innovation district, CantonRep.com reports. The innovation district, which was created last year, “requires high-speed internet connectivity and allows for tax abatements that can be used to support technology businesses,” according to the article. The city will provide $75,000, the Stark Community Foundation $40,000, and JumpStart “will provide $52,000 and $99,000 through the state’s Third Frontier network.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

State certifies Seneca Wind as qualified energy project

The State of Ohio has certified the Seneca Wind project “as a qualified energy project, establishing a fixed payment in lieu of taxes” throughout its operational life, The Adviser-Tribune reports. Seneca Wind will “consist of up to 85 wind turbines on about 25,000 acres” in Scipio, Reed, Eden, Venice and Bloom townships, “providing energy to power almost 60,000 homes each year,” according to the article. The project’s proposed 212 megawatts of capacity over the expected 30-year lifespan of the project “would result in $56 million of revenue” from developer and owner sPower, “to be divided among schools, townships and Seneca County.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, State Updates

DP&L will invest up to $1 million for electric vehicle charging equipment

Beginning next year, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) “will dedicate up to $1 million to building charging equipment for electric vehicles, according to an agreement the utility has with staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO),” the Dayton Daily News reports. The capital investment will “fund distribution grid investments necessary to support installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the DP&L service territory,” the article reports. Sharon Schroder, DP&L’s director of regulatory affairs, said the utility will “work with the Ohio EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in charging station host applicants within its service territory to facilitate the installation of the fast chargers.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

Largest state tax incentive deals in Central Ohio ranked by number of proposed new jobs

The parent company of a local insurance startup tops Columbus Business First’s list of state tax incentive recipients, ranked by the number of proposed new jobs each deal could help create, according to a recent article in that publication. IBOD Co. Inc., parent company of Root Insurance, received a “10-year, 2.38 percent job creation tax credit, potentially valued at more than $8 million,” in return for 463 new jobs. The other companies in the top five are Macy’s with 410 new jobs, Le Tote Inc. with 400, Aetna Resources LLC with 350, and FacilitySource, 272. The “total estimated proposed value of the 25 largest incentives approved from July 2017 to June 2018 is $65.05 million, which includes two data center sales tax exemptions as well as job creation tax credits,” Columbus Business First reports. For more, read the full article (subscription required).

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Acting EPA head says new clean-air plan gives states more flexibility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule will “provide more flexibility to the states” than the Clean Power Plan, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, according to an article in The Columbus Dispatch. Wheeler said the EPA “will issue efficiency guidelines to states for each type of power plant, which the states will use to ‘set specific efficiency requirements on an plant-to-plant basis,’” according to the article. The Clean Power Plan “sought to reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030," but “never went into effect after numerous legal challenges.” Wheeler said the new proposed plan returns “to the core basics of the Clean Air Act, which is working cooperatively with the states.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Federal Updates

Ohio kicks off interconnection rulemaking: Implications for distributed generation

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently opened a docket to review Ohio Adm. Code Chapter 4901:1-22, which contains the rules for interconnecting distributed generation to the electric distribution system. The PUCO’s review of the interconnection rules comes shortly after the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) released updates and revisions to the IEEE 1547 standard regarding the requirements for interconnecting distributed energy resources (DERs) with the electric distribution system. It also comes shortly after the PUCO’s release of “PowerForward: A Roadmap to Ohio’s Electricity Future,” which sets forth certain policy positions and outlines principles and objectives for Ohio’s grid modernization efforts. 

On September 11, 2018, the PUCO held a stakeholder workshop to solicit feedback on potential revisions to the rules. For more, read the full publication.

Energy Efficiency, State Updates

Dayton’s downtown resurgence fueled by incentives, public-private partnerships

The new CareSource building, Dayton Dragons Stadium and Riverscape MetroPark exemplify how government incentives and public-private partnerships have spurred Dayton’s downtown resurgence over the past 20 years, the Dayton Business Journal reports. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton) listed those projects at a recent press conference where he was joined by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati), local developer Charlie Simms and executive director of Five Rivers MetroParks Becky Benna. Turner “touted the positive effects of government incentives” such as historic tax credits and programs including community reinvestment areas and opportunity zones, which have “helped spur growth in Dayton.” He said, “[t]here are more people living, working and enjoying downtown than there were 20 years ago . . . [w]e have real examples of how a community like this uses those federal tools of tax credits and grant monies to be able to turn downtown around.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives
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