PUCO approves AEP plan to expand renewables, EV charging stations

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently approved AEP Ohio’s Electric Security Plan (ESP) that will allow the company to “expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging and renewable generation,” nawindpower.com reports. AEP Ohio had previously committed to developing an additional 900 megawatts of renewable power generation in the state; the ESP “provides a method for AEP Ohio to request approval from the PUCO for the development of new renewable resources.” Additionally, a “program to expand EV charging station availability will be created as part of the Smart Columbus initiative.” Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer, said the plan allows the company “to bring these services, which also will support economic development in Ohio, to customers across the state.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities

Columbus turned $50M into $500M for Smart City through public-private partnerships

Winning the Federal Department of Transportation’s national Smart City challenge was a huge coup for Columbus (see our June 21, 2016 blog post), but turning the $50 million in grant money that came with the win into $500 million is “one of the greatest feats” the city has ever accomplished, TechRepublic reports. Investments from the private sector have helped Columbus accomplish that goal, and are expected to continue to bring in more funding, according to the article. Among the local investors: American Electric Power has pledged $170 million, The Ohio State University has pledged $64 million, and Nationwide Insurance has pledged $2 million. In the two months between the time the federal grant was announced and the application deadline, Columbus officials “were able to pull together $90 million in pledges from local businesses,” which impressed federal officials. Mike Keller, CIO of Nationwide, said, “[t]here was a high degree of public/private/academic participation prior to the grant and that made it a lot easier to come together.” For more, read the full article

Federal Updates, Smart Cities, State Updates

Smart City grant helps Columbus buys first electric fleet vehicles

The City of Columbus has made its largest expenditure to date since winning the $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City challenge (see our June 21, 2016 blog post): 93 electric cars to replace aging city fleet vehicles, Columbus Business First reports. Last fall, Columbus City Council approved “a $2 million lease-to-own deal” for the cars, with $1.7 million from a city income tax fund for fleet vehicles and $273,000 from “the $10 million grant from Vulcan Inc. toward reducing fossil fuel consumption” that was awarded to the city for winning the challenge. The city and Smart Columbus committed to “replacing 200 fleet vehicles with electric or partial-electric models, which are projected to cut fuel and other operating costs in half,” according to the article. Columbus will also install charging stations to be used exclusively by the city’s electric vehicles. For more, read the full article

Smart Cities, State Updates

Rev1 Ventures reaches $1.4B total economic impact in Central Ohio

Columbus venture capital firm Rev1 Ventures is drawing in revenue and new capital to Central Ohio by the millions, reaching a cumulative economic impact of $1.4 billion since 2013, Columbus Business First reports. Rev1 “invested in a record number of startups in 2017 and its portfolio companies brought a combined $201 million” in revenue and new capital last year, according to the article. The nonprofit firm invests in early-stage technology companies and “mentors entrepreneurs, rents them office space and hooks them up with discounted business services.” Rev1 is also the regional manager of Ohio Third Frontier funds, and has started launching privately financed venture funds. In 2013, under new CEO Tom Walker, Rev1 set a goal of $2 billion in economic impact by the end of 2018; COO Kristy Campbell said the company feels “very good” about its progress toward that goal and “the growth of the 83 startups we’ve invested in and supported over the past five years.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

AEP Ohio awards OU $250k to research solar’s economic benefits

AEP Ohio has awarded $250,000 in grants to Ohio University to conduct research on the economic benefits of renewable energy initiatives in southeastern Ohio, The Athens News reports. The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at the university, which has a long-established relationship with AEP Ohio and the AEP Foundation, will conduct the research project. The study will focus on three main areas: “economic and workforce impacts of currently planned solar installations in Ohio, approaches to additional utility and non-utility solar deployment, and the grid reliability benefits of increasing solar energy penetration,” according to the article. The team will also look at the potential results of “future policy and program changes.” Gilbert Michaud, principal investigator on the project, said, “the increase in tax revenues and job creation associated with increased solar deployment will help create a more stable economy for the region.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus gets approval to change plans for $40M Smart City grant

The app for truck drivers to reserve loading zone times is out, and prenatal transportation is in, after the U.S. Department of Transportation signed off on changes Columbus requested for its Smart City plans, Columbus Business First reports. Smart Columbus “has realigned priorities,” cutting some of its original projects and adding one after a year of study, according to the article. Research indicated that delivery drivers would not find the proposed app to reserve appointments for loading zones helpful. Bus collision avoidance sensors were also removed from the grant, based on data that showed The Central Ohio Transit Authority “had only six collisions with pedestrians or bikes in 2016, and all took place in low-light conditions.” The proposed sensors do not work in those conditions. Columbus added a “new prenatal visit transportation project,” which aligns with the city’s efforts to lower infant mortality rates. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, Smart Cities

KeyBank award could help Cincinnati Chamber create 500 jobs

A $100,000 investment in the Cincinnati Chamber Minority Business Accelerator “could help create 500 new jobs,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The accelerator “is expected to partner with other members of the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative” and Northern Kentucky University to “use the funding to execute a strategy designed to help 50 minority-owned businesses grow their revenue to $5 million and create 500 new jobs in the next five years,” according to the article. KeyBank’s Business Boost & Build program powered by JumpStart awarded the money through the KeyBank Center for Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth. Darrin Redus, vice president and head of the accelerator, said, “[w]e are thrilled to establish this partnership with JumpStart as we collectively strive to grow more larger-scale, job-creating, minority-owned businesses.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Auto supplier plans additional $73M investment, 204 jobs in Springfield

Topre America is expanding its previous plans for a new facility in Springfield (see our June 12, 2017 blog post), announcing it will invest an additional $73 million in the facility to meet increased production requests, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The additional investment in the 177,000 square-foot stamping and steel production plant will “create 204 assembly, research and development, stamping and light manufacturing jobs,” according to the article. The expansion is “contingent upon the approval of state and local incentives.” Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition regional JobsOhio affiliate, said the coalition understands the impact of more than 200 new jobs and “will continue to work with our partners in Springfield and JobsOhio to move this project forward.” For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, JobsOhio/ODSA, Regional Updates, State Updates

Dayton’s strategic use of CRA fueling growth in downtown, other areas

While home prices have been rising in downtown Dayton, Webster Station and other Dayton neighborhoods, property taxes don’t always immediately rise along with them, thanks to the city’s Community Reinvestment Area program, the Dayton Daily News reports. The program “incentivizes property improvements and new construction by exempting taxation on the value of the improvements,” the article reports. Dayton uses the abatements strategically by targeting “the neighborhoods that need it most,” said Karl Keith, Montgomery County Auditor. Keith said the city’s targeted approach will help reverse the trends of declining property values in areas that have experienced urban decay and blight. Some of the recent new homes in downtown Dayton have sold for prices that were “unimaginable to developers a decade ago.” As of 2017, “nearly $63 million was invested in Dayton properties” in the CRA program. For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Cincinnati on shortlist of candidates to host World Cup in 2026

Cincinnati “has officially been included” in a bid for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The three countries said they have joined together “to deliver a United Bid that offers FIFA and its member associations the power of unity, the promise of certainty, and the potential of extraordinary opportunity,” according to the article. Cincinnati is among the 23 North American cities listed in the proposal, 16 of which will be selected for the international tournament if the United Bid is successful. The Queen City would hold World Cup events at Paul Brown stadium, and as a host city would see an estimated economic impact of $90 million to $480 million. John Kristick, executive director of the United Bid, said, “[w]e are confident that the combination of our 23 existing world-class stadiums, 150 existing elite training facilities, and our modern and interconnected transportation network can help FIFA to achieve new records for attendance and revenue.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates
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