Embracing clean energy could bring $25B in investment in Ohio

New energy technologies “could lead to $25 billion in new investment in Ohio and support another 20,000 jobs,” a recent study shows, according to an article in Columbus Business First. Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics and Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Energy Institute, who conducted the study, “called for favorable policies in local economic development as well as a longer-term roadmap from the Statehouse to better capture potential investment and jobs.” There are “four principal changes in the energy business” that could benefit Ohio. Corporate investment by companies who want to power facilities with renewable energy could bring $6.2 billion; transportation could add another $6 billion from electric vehicles as they change the automotive market. The analysts said Ohio “has the means to quadruple green energy investment for another $7.6 billion,” and energy efficiency could add $6.6 billion. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Wind and solar make big jumps in annual PJM capacity auction

PJM Interconnection’s annual capacity auction, which “procures power supply resources to meet electricity needs for three years from now,” saw big increases in wind and solar resources, nawindpower.com reports. PJM “procured 163,627 megawatts [MW] of resources for the period of June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022,” according to the article. Solar increased over last year’s auction “more than fourfold, with around 570 MW clearing,” while 1,417 MW of wind cleared, an increase over last year of 529 MW. Additionally, the auction cleared “1,000 MW more gas-fired generation than last year,” including “one new combined cycle plant.” Energy efficiency was also up about 1,100 MW, with 3,832 MW clearing. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

NOPEC offering USDA low-interest loans for small business energy upgrades

Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) is the first organization in Ohio to offer new U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loans designed to “help small businesses lower their energy consumption and costs through energy-efficient upgrades,” The Morning Journal reports. Owners of commercial property within a NOPEC member community are eligible to apply for financing for projects ranging from $5,000 to $100,000; the program is open to “private sector office, retail and industrial and public-sector facilities — such as government, health care, education” and apartment buildings with more than four units. Energy upgrades that qualify include HVAC, interior and exterior lighting, insulation, windows and doors, and other renewable energy projects such as solar water heating systems. For larger projects, NOPEC offers financing up to $500,000 through its Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, program. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

NTE Energy’s $600M Middletown Energy Center largest development in city’s history

The recently opened Middletown Energy Center is not only Middletown’s biggest development project to date, but also “will be among the cleanest and most efficient natural gas fired power plants in the nation,” the Dayton Daily News reports. The 475-megawatt power plant “not only uses natural gas to create energy, but also uses heat created by the power-generation process” to drive a steam turbine to produce additional power, according to the article. City officials said NTE’s investment in the facility is “almost twice the size of the approximately $350 million Liberty Center that opened October 2016 in Liberty Twp.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Environmental

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

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

Solon City Council approves request to join ESID to allow PACE financing

Businesses in Solon will now be able to seek funding for energy efficiency improvements through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, Cleveland.com reports. Solon City Council signed off on a request to join the Northeast Ohio Advanced Energy District, the closest Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), of which Solon neighbor Bedford Heights is a member. This means Solon meets the adjacency requirement to join, and First Suburbs Consortium would handle all applications for Solon businesses. City Economic Development Manager Peggy Weil Dorfman brought the request to join the ESID to City Council after a Solon company inquired about making $100,000 in building improvements that would qualify for PACE financing. Bricker & Eckler LLP provided information to the City Council about PACE financing and PACE projects in the region such as the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

Several groups helping make Northeast Ohio greener

Businesses and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are increasingly looking to reduce energy costs and lessen their environmental impact; environmentalists and other advocates say several organizations are helping make that happen, Cleveland.com reports. KeyBank’s Key4Green business segment is “a group of bankers who understand the (renewable energy) industry, and they help clients understand tax implications and the tax credits available,” the article reports. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is in the permitting process to build six offshore wind turbines several miles off the Lake Erie coast (see our August 25, 2017 blog post). Rust Belt Riders “collect food waste that would normally go into the garbage and distribute it” to urban farmers and community gardeners to use as fertilizer, diverting the waste from landfills. The Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that “helps building owners and property managers reduce their electricity use and lower CO2 emissions.” For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy

Akron PNC Center begins $8.5M PACE-financed energy efficiency project

The 23-story PNC Center in downtown Akron has begun work on an $8.5-million energy-efficiency improvement project funded through property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, the Akron Beacon-Journal reports. A 25,000-pound aging chiller and two boilers will be removed and replaced with more efficient heating and cooling systems. The project also includes new lighting and other energy-efficient upgrades. The Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) is issuing bonds to finance the project; those bonds will be repaid over 18 years at an average rate of about $477,000 annually. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance
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