Laketran becomes member of Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance

Public transit agency Laketran has joined the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, a group “seeking a public policy solution that will allow the Perry Nuclear Power Plant to avoid its decommissioning (see our November 14, 2018 blog post),” The News-Herald reports. Laketran CEO Ben Capelle said, “[e]lectricity is the future energy source for all ground transportation, including buses,” noting that the federal government “is prioritizing electric bus infrastructure to reduce emissions and lower the cost of providing transit service,” according to the article. Fueling buses with nuclear-based power “allows the entire energy pipeline to be emissions-free.” Laketran, the “first transit system in the state to deploy zero-emissions electric vehicles,” plans to electrify its entire Local Route system. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

UC Clermont College now 100% powered by wind energy

A three-year energy agreement with American Electric Power means the University of Cincinnati Clermont College is “now 100 percent wind-powered,” according to an article on the school’s website. The agreement, which began in October 2018, “covers energy provided for UC Clermont College, UC Blue Ash and the university’s satellite sites,” the article reports. The move “will save the equivalent in CO2 emissions of 3,683 homes’ electricity use for one year,” and is projected to save the college approximately $25,000 annually. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

AEP’s planned Highland County solar farms a welcome boost for southern Ohio

Development, business and construction leaders across Appalachia rallied in support at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)’s first public hearing on AEP’s plan to build two solar farms in Highland County, Columbus Business First reports. The 300-megawatt (MW) Highland Solar Farm, if completed, would be the largest in Ohio. AEP says constructing that farm and the 100-MW Willowbrook Solar Farm “would bring $24 million in new state tax revenue and $6.7 million in local tax revenue,” while construction “would support 4,000 jobs, including 113 permanent manufacturing jobs in the solar supply chain,” according to the article. The Columbus Dispatch reports “witnesses from economic-development and environmental groups . . . testified about the need for jobs in a region of the state that has been struggling economically, and the value of moving away from fossil fuels to renewable sources.” For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Columbus Dispatch articles. 

Economic Development, Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Belpre plans to add solar panels to fire station

Belpre City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a resolution that would allow a solar energy system to be installed at the Belpre Fire Station on Washington Boulevard, The Marietta Times reports. If the second and third readings are approved, the mayor and safety-service director will be able to “execute a contract with Pickering Energy Solutions LLC” and have the system installed early in 2019, according to the article. The project “will be done at no cost to the city, with the city and Pickering sharing the cost savings,” according to Mayor Mike Lorentz. The system will be similar to one previously installed at the Belpre Municipal Building, which provides electricity for the city’s police department daytime operations. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Study shows wind and solar falling below conventional generation costs

Financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard Ltd.’s annual studies comparing costs of various generation technologies shows “in some scenarios, alternative energy costs have decreased to . . . at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation,” nawindpower.com reports. George Bilicic, vice chairman and global Head of Lazard’s Power, Energy & Infrastructure Group, said, “we have reached an inflection point where, in some cases, it is more cost-effective to build and operate new alternative energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants,” the article reports. According to Bilicic, “storage remains the key to solving the problem of intermittency.” Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis “shows significant cost declines across most energy storage use cases and technologies.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy

Sirna and Sons solar installation generates 35% of company’s electric usage

Ravenna-based Sirna and Sons Produce has installed 1,331 solar panels on the roof of their Route 88 facility, enough to generate 35% of the electricity needed to power the 115,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, the Record-Courier reports. Tom Sirna, president of the fourth-generation wholesale food distributor, said the 30-percent federal tax credit lowered the payback period of the project from 10 to 12 years to 6 years. Without that, Sirna said, “the company probably wouldn’t have gone solar,” according to the article. The 452.5-kilowatt system “should cut carbon emissions by 650 tons every year,” which not only increases the company’s marketability, but aligns with Sirna’s goals to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Exelon files complaint and injunction motions against FirstEnergy Solutions in bankruptcy case

On November 26, 2018, Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon) filed a complaint in U.S. bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Ohio for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, along with a motion for preliminary injunction, against FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), to enforce a purchase agreement for the sale of FES' retail electric business to Exelon. Exelon, a Fortune 100 energy provider, alleges that FES is in material breach of the Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) “through its failure to use commercially reasonable efforts to obtain a Sale Order by November 6, 2018.” The alleged breach comes after Exelon was the only successful bidder, agreeing to buy bankrupt FES’ retail electric assets for $140 million in cash plus other consideration. Exelon has also asked the court to grant an emergency motion due to a fast approaching end-of-year deadline. 

Renewable Energy

Community leaders form Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance to save Ohio’s nuclear plants

A “broad-based coalition of community leaders and organizations” have joined to form the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, a group “seeking a public policy solution” that will allow the state’s two nuclear energy plants to remain in operation, The News-Herald reports. The coalition “will engage legislators, policymakers and the public to highlight the employment, economic, environmental and grid reliability benefits” provided by the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear plants, the article reports. Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino said the plants contribute “over $500 million annually to the state’s economy — over 4,000 jobs are at stake.” Members of the alliance include the Perry Economic Development Council, members of the North Perry Village Council and the Mentor Council, the superintendent of Perry Local Schools and other community leaders. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

SARTA offers free loan of fuel-cell bus to any transit authority in the U.

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) and the manufacturers of its fuel-cell buses have launched a national promotion “to persuade other transit authorities to switch to hydrogen fuel cells,” Cleveland.com reports. SARTA “is offering to loan” one of its 13 fuel-cell buses free of charge “to any transit authority in the nation interested in seeing first-hand how the now commercially available technology works,” according to the article. Kirt Conrad, SARTA’s CEO, said, “[g]iving the people across the country the opportunity to see, learn about, and ride on a hydrogen-fuel cell bus is the best way to demonstrate this technology’s potential to totally transform the way vehicles are powered here and around the world.” SARTA’s fuel cell buses have electric motors powered by on-board fuel cells that use oxygen from the air and stored hydrogen to generate power, emitting only water. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy

Energy policy important for landing Amazon investment

Amazon’s head of energy policy, Jake Oster, “implored economic development leaders” at a Midwestern Governors Association conference “to put energy policy on par with other economic development considerations,” Columbus Business First reports. Oster urged government leaders “to think progressively if they’re trying to land one of [Amazon’s] massive facilities,” the article reports. Amazon’s Web Services segment is halfway to its commitment to power its data centers with 100 percent renewable energy. Oster said, “[a]t the end of the day, our priorities are sourcing reliable, cost-competitive clean energy, and we want policies that facilitate those outcomes. We want policymakers to use caution when using barriers that make it harder to develop clean energy.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates
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