Columbus green-energy aggregation plan on November ballot

City of Columbus residents will vote on Issue 1, an “opt-out” green-energy electricity aggregation plan “that promises to supply 100% of the city’s power needs with renewable energy by 2023,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. The plan’s details, including cost to residents, will be worked out after the November election, according to the article. AEP Energy “has agreed to spend $1 billion to provide 100% of the city’s power” through new Ohio renewable energy farms, instead of through green energy credits. City Council member Rob Dorans said the program will create hundreds of new jobs and allow the city “to use our collective bulk buying power to get a competitive electricity rate.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped development, investor interest in Licking County

Licking County “continues to enjoy major investment and interest from the manufacturing and logistic/fulfillment sectors,” despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newark Advocate reports. Nate Strum, executive director of Grow Licking County, expects the county “will continue to grow in population over the next 30 or so years, and continue to reap commercial development benefits owing partly to geography and surrounding transportation routes,” according to the article. He said Licking County “has four of the largest users of renewable energy in the world" with facilities by Amazon, Facebook, Google and Owens Corning. Strum also noted four companies, three of which are international, have made site visits recently. Additionally, Grow Licking County has two tax incentive offers going before state officials for final consideration, and hopes to have two or three more by the end of the year. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

New PACE agreements approve $14M in financing for St. Clair Inn, Hotel Harrington

The St. Clair County Board recently approved new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) agreements for more than $3.1 million and $11 million for the St. Clair Inn and Hotel Harrington projects, respectively, the Times Herald reports. Plans for the Harrington include ceiling insulation, LED lighting, solar features, and high-efficiency heating and cooling, while the St. Clair Inn property’s plan includes “$2.9 million in heating and cooling system improvements, as well as $2.7 million in electrical and $2.2 million in plumbing,” according to the article. The county adopted its PACE program three years ago, allowing developers to repay private loans over time through an assessment against the property. For more, read the full article.

 

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, Renewable Energy, State Updates

FERC ruling reverses 40 years of PURPA precedent in defining small solar

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently issued an order that reverses “40 years of precedent under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)” determining how a small power producer is defined, Utility Dive reports. In the ruling, FERC “denied qualifying facility (QF) status to a facility in Montana with a net capacity of 80 MW of solar power . . . asserting that because its gross capacity is 160 MW, it does not meet the legal threshold for a QF,” according to the article. That facility, Broadview, updated its filing in 2019 “to reflect the addition of panels that allow it to have 160 MW of gross capacity”; the developer “argues that because its 160 MW solar, 50 MW battery facility connects directly to direct-current-to-alternating-current inverters, the maximum net capacity of the facility is still 80 MW.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

Ohio could benefit from more utility-scale solar projects, trade group says

The recently formed Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition (USSEC) “sees great potential for Ohio to build many more utility-scale solar energy projects” that could bring economic growth, jobs and diversification to the state, The Toledo Blade reports. The organization issued a report saying “it sees a market for 54,113 one-time construction jobs and 618 annual operations and maintenance jobs” from such projects, defined as generating 50 megawatts (MW) or greater, according to the article. Jason Rafeld, USSEC executive director, said, “Ohio is undergoing a major energy transition,” with nine coal-fired power plants closing in the past decade and the cost of solar decreasing 70 percent during that same period, while corporations “are demanding more utility-scale solar energy.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates

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

Toledo Solar awarded $200K DOE research grant

Perrysburg-based Toledo Solar recently won a $200,000 Phase I U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, The Toledo Blade reports. The grant will fund “extended testing of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with glass-enameled steel backs instead of the existing glass sheet used to encapsulate the panel,” according to the article. The design, if successful, “will make the panels lighter and rooftop installations quicker,” lowering prices for installers and individual customers. If the panels are commercially viable, “they will help Toledo Solar to compete with Chinese-made silicon panels that do not work as well in hot climates” such as the American Southwest. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Beavercreek officials discuss adding guidelines for commercial solar farms

Property owners in Beavercreek are permitted “to install and use solar panels for their own personal use,” but the city’s zoning code does not currently include guidelines for commercial solar farms, the Dayton Daily News reports. City officials realized the city’s code did not contain regulations for commercial solar projects after a real estate agent inquired whether a solar farm would be permitted on a property, according to the article. Beavercreek City Council is considering new language to be added to the city code outlining commercial solar farm requirements for projects under 50 megawatts (MW). Any solar installations of 50 MW or more fall under the authority of the Ohio Power Siting Board. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Legislators ask OPSB to reconsider ruling that restricts Icebreaker Wind turbine operations

A group of 32 Northeast Ohio lawmakers, including state senators and representatives from both parties, is urging state regulators to reconsider a ruling that “would doom the construction of Icebreaker Wind,” a six-turbine, 20-megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm, Cleveland.com reports. The legislators wrote a letter to Ohio Power Siting Board Chair Sam Randazzo saying that while the board “technically approved” the project, “it unlawfully inserted a ‘poison pill’ provision” barring the blades from moving at night between March 1 and November 1 to limit risks to birds and bats, according to the article. Icebreaker is projected to generate 500 new jobs and $250 million for the local economy. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, 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
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