OSU-area hotel making $16M in energy efficiency upgrades with PACE financing

The Marriott Hotel & Residence Inn on Olentangy River Road near The Ohio State University main campus will get $16.3 million in energy efficiency upgrades funded through Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing, Columbus Business First reports. The financing, which was the largest publicly announced C-PACE transaction in the United States in 2018 (see our December 14, 2018 blog post), will fund “a comprehensive building envelope upgrade, lighting improvements and other efficiency measures,” according to the article. The upgrades “are expected to save significant energy costs for the hotel in coming years.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

Court dismisses class action against Cleveland Public Power

The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas dismissed a class action lawsuit against Cleveland Public Power (CPP), holding that certain utility charges totaling more than $188 million were not unlawful. The crux of the lawsuit was Environmental and Ecological Adjustment (EEA) charges that CCP charged customers in addition to base rates. Unlike base rates, EEA charges do not need approval from city council. The EEA charges were collected by CPP from 1984 into 2013. And although CPP stopped assessing these fees in 2013, it began charging customers again in 2017. The plaintiffs claimed that CPP was not allowed to charge the EEA charges under the terms of CPP’s electric service contract with its customers, because these charges did not relate to compliance with environmental laws or regulations.             

To examine the plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim, the court analyzed the City of Cleveland’s ordinances, which incorporate the terms of the electric service contract. After analyzing the ordinances establishing the EEA, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments. The court found that the language of the ordinances (and, thus, the electric service contract) did not limit the scope of EEA charges to costs related to environmental laws or regulations.                                                        

The court’s decision is likely to be appealed, but it closes the first chapter in a contentious legal battle regarding CPP’s utility charges. The decision is also noteworthy due to the court’s in-depth analysis of the applicable standard of review for Ohio courts that are asked to consider the lawfulness of municipal utilities’ rates.

For more, read the full decision.

Energy Efficiency, Miscellaneous, State Updates

GreenGen to upgrade energy efficiency at three Ohio GSA facilities

An Energy Savings Performance Contract awarded to Green Generation (GreenGen) will help three Ohio General Services Administration (GSA) facilities reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. GreenGen was “awarded a Task Order to design and install energy efficiency upgrades” including interior/exterior LED lighting and RTU and split system equipment replacement at the facilities, according to the article. The $1,059,000 contract “will be financed over a 12-year term,” and will “guarantee minimum first year savings of $83,623 and provide for $1.37 million in energy and cost savings for the US government during the contract term while improving the environment.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

PACE Financing Resource Center and whitepaper

Bricker's Economic Development team recently launched a collection of online resources highlighting the opportunities, challenges and mechanics of PACE financing. In addition to an interactive map identifying all of the state's PACE programs, the resource center also features a free, downloadable white paper describing the details of using this financing tool in Ohio.  

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

“Bring Your Green” participants saved more than $600K in energy costs

Results of the ‘Bring Your Green 2.0 Challenge’ were recently announced by Dayton Power & Light (DP&L), Dayton Regional Green, IGS Energy, Vectren and Energy Optimizers, the Dayton Daily News reports. Local businesses, schools and organizations “competed to reduce their environmental impact, save energy and resources, and engage their employees and students in sustainability efforts,” according to the article. The challenge resulted in energy cost savings of $639,644, more than “6,875 tons of CO2 release into the atmosphere prevented,” 6,867,064 kWh in electricity saved, and the equivalent “to taking 935 homes off the grid and 1,336 cars off the road.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

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

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

PACE Workshop – September 26

We invite you to join Bricker & Eckler and NOPEC for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Workshop on September 26 in Twinsburg, Ohio. Bricker attorneys Jason Tiemeier and Michael Katz will present on Ohio PACE financing. More information, including registration, is available here.  

Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Bexley offering seminar for residential PACE program

Bricker & Eckler LLP and the City of Bexley will present a seminar for the city’s recently created PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program on September 24, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Bexley City Hall. Caleb Bell of Bricker & Eckler and Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler will explain how solar companies can participate in the program and provide financing to residential property owners. PACE financing allows property owners to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades to their properties and repay the costs through special assessments on their real property tax bills. To register, click here.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, Renewable Energy
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