H2Ohio water quality plan announced

On November 14, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his long-awaited H2Ohio Water Quality Plan, a program aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff and harmful algal blooms, improving water infrastructure (including tackling the problem of failing septic systems) and preventing lead contamination to water in Ohio. On phosphorus runoff reduction, the primary area of focus will be reducing runoff in the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie through a certification process that will provide farmers with economic incentives if they develop a certified nutrient management plan. On water infrastructure, Ohio EPA will head up H2Ohio’s directive to fund infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities to ensure access to safe drinking water and quality sewer infrastructure. As part of this effort, H2Ohio will fund the replacement of failing septic systems and lead pipes and fixtures in high-risk areas around Ohio. It is expected that Ohio EPA will announce more detail on these projects in the near future. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Lakewood city facilities to use 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2025

As part of the Sierra Club’s national “Ready for 100” campaign, Lakewood City Council recently pledged that the city will use 100 percent clean, renewable energy in city facilities by 2025, and go “communitywide by 2035,” Cleveland.com reports. Council-at-large representative Tristan Rader said Lakewood has also “prioritized reducing emissions and increasing efficiency in this year’s budgeting process,” the article reports. Earlier this year, Lakewood procured “100 percent clean electricity for its two largest meters and 50 percent for all others, including for streetlights.” The city “generates clean power from a cogeneration system” at the wastewater treatment plant, and is considering “the installation of four large solar systems on city buildings over the next year.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Renewables now less expensive than natural gas generation, new report says

Independent nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recently released a report showing portfolios of clean energy resources “can provide the same energy and reliability services as traditional gas power plants” at a lower cost, nawindpower.com reports. The report, The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, states the “economics guiding U.S. investments in electricity generation have reached a historic tipping point: Combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response are now less expensive than most proposed gas power plant projects,” according to the article. The report finds “over 95% of gas use in proposed gas-fired power plants across much of the Eastern U.S. could be economically offset by clean energy by 2035,” potentially leading to natural gas plant closures just as cheaper natural gas has led to the retirement of coal-fired plants in recent years. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy

NASA study finds huge solar potential for Cleveland

A 5.4-square mile section of Cleveland has the potential to generate 100,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually — enough to power 10,000 homes — through widespread deployment of rooftop solar systems, NASA researchers found, according to a recent U.S. Energy News article. The analysis, from NASA’s DEVELOP program, “used aerial images to calculate rooftop solar capacity” and found that 85% of the 100,000 megawatts “could be generated on a fifth of the buildings” within that area, according to the article. These findings “could help inform the city’s strategy as it aims to achieve 100% renewable energy” as well as net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus first non-attainment area in nation to meet ozone air quality standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio EPA recently announced “the Columbus area is the first non-attainment area in the nation to meet the most recent federal air quality standard for ozone,” according to a news release. Recent air monitoring data “show the Columbus area now meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone in addition to all other federal air quality standards set to protect public health,” the release reports. With that designation, businesses in the area “will face fewer air permitting restrictions paving the way for infrastructure investment and economic development that will create jobs.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Environmental, State Updates

Cincinnati plans transition to electric vehicles for city fleet

The City of Cincinnati “plans to add 20 electric vehicles [EV] and 162 charging stations by the end of 2020” as part of a plan to eventually “transition the city’s fleet to an all EV fleet,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Carla Walker, the city’s climate advisor, “said the city has allocated $96,000 in its budget to buy the 20 additional vehicles,” according to the article. Bloomberg Philanthropies chose Cincinnati to be part of the American Cities Climate Challenge, and will support the city’s efforts “to tackle climate change and support a sustainable future.” Walker “wants to educate 10,000 people on the advantages of electric vehicles” over the next year by hosting Ride and Drive events, among others. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

Twinsburg plans to install EV charging stations with NOPEC grant money

Electric vehicle (EV) owners in the Twinsburg area may soon have more options to charge away from home, as the city plans to install one or more EV charging stations, MyTownNEO reports. Mayor Ted Yates said at a recent City Council meeting “the city’s $42,000 energized community grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council [NOPEC] will likely be used to create at least one station,” according to the article. Yates said “if the price is right” the city may consider multiple charging station locations, with installation complete by August or September. The primary goal of energized community grants “is to help communities implement energy savings or energy infrastructure measures.” Twinsburg has used previous grants to improve lighting in city buildings. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

Warren County park solar project also combats pollinator habitat loss

A solar array that has been providing most of the electric power for Warren County’s 311-acre Armco Park during the daytime “is also designed to combat the loss of habitat” for pollinators, the Journal-News reports. The 256-kilowatt array’s “bee and butterfly factor” is what “puts it over the top,” said Jim Yockey, the contractor financing the array, according to the article. Since March, the 745-panel solar system has “been providing 90 to 95 percent of the electric power for the park’s 18-hole golf course, softball complex, tennis and basketball courts, restrooms, concession stand and other facilities.” The project is “expected to reduce the park’s ‘carbon footprint,’ while fighting declines in species needed to pollinate ‘about one third of the world-wide food supply.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Ohio legislature considering study of electric vehicle infrastructure issues

While purchases of electric vehicles (EV) rose from 1,630 in 2016 to 4,456 in 2018, a lack of charging infrastructure may be inhibiting EV market growth, a subject the Ohio legislature may soon explore. Ohio House Bill 202 “would create a 13-member Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Study Committee to explore issues related to electric vehicle infrastructure,” according to the article. Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio, said, “[o]ne of the most common reasons that consumers hesitate in buying electric vehicles right now is the lack of public charging infrastructure. . . .we face a classic ‘chicken vs. the egg’ situation in which consumers cite a lack of electric vehicle charging as a barrier, yet the private sector on its own can’t invest in this needed charging infrastructure due to the lack of an available market in the form of electric vehicles.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

Coal “no longer dominant source” of electricity in Ohio

As coal competes with cheap, abundant natural gas for power generation in Ohio, it has “gone from powering 87 percent of the state’s homes, stores, offices and factories to 47 percent” in “just a dozen years,” according to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch. Natural gas “generated 34 percent of the state’s power last year,” an increase of 10 percentage points in one year, the article reports. Columbus-based American Electric Power, one of the largest power companies in the United States, “has slashed its carbon dioxide emissions 59 percent since 2000 with a goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050 as the company moves away from coal to natural gas and renewable sources such as wind and solar.” Natural gas has surpassed coal nationally as the top source of power, at 35.1 percent compared to coal’s 27.4 percent. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates
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