Columbus residents to vote on community choice aggregation in November

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city, community and energy leaders recently announced “the selection of a preferred electricity supplier, kicking off the community choice aggregation initiative” that will be on the November 3 ballot, Columbus Messenger reports. The program is part of the city’s goal “for 100 percent clean energy by 2022 and to be carbon neutral by 2050,” according to the article. AEP Energy was selected through a public, competitive bidding process “due to their ability to meet the goal of clean, renewable energy from local renewable resources.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus develops UTC to simplify EV adoption for fleets

One of the goals of Smart Columbus is to “introduce 300 EVs [electric vehicles] into public fleets by 2020,” and the City of Columbus has created a Universal Term Contract (UTC) to facilitate the EV adoption process for public entities, according to a recent Smart Columbus Playbook. The city created “a request for proposal (RFP) that allowed bidders to offer innovative financial arrangements in their proposals,” according to Smart Columbus. Columbus then developed an innovative program that allowed the city to “lease vehicles for a short period followed by a title transfer to the city, attain vehicle pricing at triple-net dealer invoice, and capture a portion of the federal EV tax credit.” The program, a UTC for vehicle procurement, can be used by any local public entity in the state. For more, read the Smart Columbus Playbook.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, State Updates

NOPEC $35,000 grant will fund Lakewood’s fifth EV charger

Lakewood Mayor Meghan George recently announced a $35,000 Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) grant to support electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure will finance the city’s fifth EV charging station, Cleveland.com reports. NOPEC “offered the grant in gratitude for advice and support provided by the city regarding its own EV charging program initiative,” the mayor said, according to the article. The city has installed two EV chargers, with a third expected to be operational soon, and a fourth earmarked for next year. George called the charging stations “an important infrastructure need” as Lakewood encourages the use of electric vehicles. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether state EPA can enforce federal act in Rover Pipeline case

The Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether the Ohio Environmental Protection Ageny (EPA) lost jurisdiction to enforce the federal Clean Water Act to hold Rover Pipeline LLC accountable for dumping “millions of gallons of mud mixed with diesel fuel in pristine wetlands in 2017,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. Rover “argues that the state failed to act within one year of Rover’s application for specific certifications” under the act, therefore waiving the requirements, according to the article. A brief filed by the Ohio Attorney General’s office argues the act “does not say that states, if they fail to timely issue a water-quality certification, forfeit their power to enforce all state environmental laws that the permittee later violates.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

DriveOhio outlines statewide strategy for EV charging

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s DriveOhio initiative “has finalized a study to expand electric vehicles (EV) access” throughout the state, identifying “key steps” needed to expand Ohio’s EV impact, Knox Pages reports. A key recommendation is to install EV charging stations “at least every 50 miles at strategic locations along interstate, state and US route corridors,” according to the article. In coordination with this study, the Ohio EPA is accepting applications for $3.5 million in grants to fund publicly accessible chargers in 26 counties (see our July 27, 2020 blog post); another $5 million in grants for Direct Current Fast chargers will be released in early 2021. Jack Marchbanks, Director of ODOT, said by working toward EV-friendly corridors, “Ohio will continue leading the way in the changing landscape of transportation.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

Campbell City Schools converting all buildings to clean energy

The Campbell City school district will invest $2 million in infrastructure upgrades to “convert all of its buildings to be powered by clean energy,” with work beginning later this summer, The Business Journal reports. The upgrades, including a hybrid solar and combined heat and power systems, “are being made at no cost to the community thanks to incentive programs,” according to the article. Matthew Bowen, superintendent of Campbell City Schools, said in a statement the school district will be free from the energy grid in 20 years and will “capture a full $300,000 annual benefit.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Volkswagen settlement money funding Ohio EPA grants for EV charging stations

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications for “$3.25 million in grants for publicly accessible electric vehicle [EV] charging stations,” according to a recent news release. Funding for the grants “comes from dollars allocated to Ohio from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund,” which requires states to develop a plan identifying how the money will be allocated for “10 allowable uses that can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and offset damages,” according to the release. Eligible applicants “include public or private entities in the 26 counties that Ohio EPA has identified as eligible to receive funds”; applications will be accepted through September 30, 2020. For more, read the full news release.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

Ohio University I-Corps@Ohio teams spur economic development in Appalachia

Two Ohio University I-Corps@Ohio teams “are spurring regional economic development in southeastern Ohio through the commercialization of wastewater as paint and coal plastic composite as building materials,” The Athens News reports. Paint from Pollution “aims to restore streams harmed by acid mine drainage” and lower remediation costs through a wastewater treatment technology “that can create paint pigment from acid mine drainage,” according to the article. Ohio Construction Composites “develops composite material for decking applications using coal as the filler material in the thermoplastic matrix,” reducing cost and improving quality while creating an environmentally friendly demand for coal. The commercialization of these technologies will lead to the development of viable businesses and create environmentally friendly employment opportunities in Appalachian Ohio. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Environmental, State Updates

$1B Gemini Solar Project will be largest solar project in U.S. history

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a proposal to construct and operate a 690-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar energy facility about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, greenlodgingnews.com reports. The estimated $1 billion Gemini Solar Project “could be the eighth-largest solar power facility in the world when finished and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California,” according to the article. Project construction “is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers” at a time, “supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated $712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

Columbus exceeds EV adoption goal, leads Midwest

Smart Columbus recently announced that it has exceeded a goal set three years ago “to facilitate the purchase of 3,200 electric vehicles [EVs],” with 3,323 EVs sold in the Columbus region from April 2017 to February 2020, 10TV.com reports. In addition to surpassing that goal, Columbus “became the fastest-growing city in the Midwest for electric vehicle adoption,” according to the article. Because transportation “accounts for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. according to the Environmental Protection Agency,” Columbus could also see environmental benefits from increased EV adoption. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Smart Cities, State Updates
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