Posts Authored by Jhay T. Spottswood

Dayton area expected to add more EV charging stations with EPA funding

Electric vehicle drivers in the Dayton area may soon have more places to “fill up” thanks to an effort led by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), the Dayton Daily News reports. “Eighteen new sites in 11 communities could be added to the dozens of publicly accessible Level 2 charging stations” if the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards funds to the MVRPC proposal, according to the article. The state agency will disburse $3.25 million from a settlement with Volkswagen over Clean Air Act violations (see our July 27, 2020 blog post). MVRPC Executive Director Brian Martin said, “[v]isible, publicly accessible EV charging serves to encourage consumers to consider plug-in vehicles” by making charging more convenient. For more, read the full article

Environmental, State Updates

Planned OSU $278M heat and power plant gets approval

The Ohio Power Siting Board approved the Ohio State University (OSU)’s application to construct its planned $278 million combined heat and power plant on campus, Columbus Business First reports. OSU spokesperson Dan Hedman said university officials will “work to finalize a project timeline” for the plant, which “will provide ‘energy-efficient electricity, heating and cooling’ for the whole campus” while cutting carbon emissions by more than 30%, according to the article. The Columbus Dispatch reports OSU has “said the facility is the ‘cornerstone’ of its energy plan and private energy partnership, and is needed to support its new inpatient hospital and buildings that will make up Ohio State’s West Campus innovation district.” For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Columbus Dispatch articles. 

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, 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

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

DC Circuit ruling overturns longstanding FERC practice of delaying through tolling orders

An en banc decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that “prevents federal regulators from delaying decisions on whether to build out gas infrastructure indefinitely” could have “major consequences for stakeholders,” Utility Dive reports. The court ruled in Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) “does not have the authority to postpone decisions on requests for rehearing” from landowners indefinitely, according to the article. 

Under the current process, “an individual has 30 days to file a request for rehearing after FERC issues an order,” then FERC has 30 days to respond. FERC “commonly responds to such requests through delaying or tolling the order,” which prevents the parties seeking a rehearing from pursuing litigation. 

Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel at Advanced Energy Economy, said the most severe impacts from that approach were on landowners; the “factual circumstances of the Allegheny Defense Project case were kind of the most extreme examples of how that policy could create real, lasting, irreparable harm on parties who are seeking rehearing and ultimately plan to seek judicial review.” For more, read the full article.

Federal 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

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

Renewables could overtake coal generation in 2020 as COVID-19 accelerates transition

The latest short-term energy outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows renewables generation “is set to outpace coal generation in 2020,” amid “shrinking electricity demand caused by COVID-19 response measures as well as low natural gas prices,” Utility Dive reports. Coal consumption “is expected to decrease by nearly a quarter to 453 million short tons this year” due to competitive gas prices and lower power consumption, according to the article. Renewable generation, on the other hand, has been “following an upward trend” and is projected to grow by 11% this year, “despite COVID-related impacts to new generation capacity builds in the coming months.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

GM, LG Chem joint venture Ultium Cells “to power EV future”

The partnership between General Motors (GM) and LG Chem to manufacture battery cells has a new name: Ultium Cells LLC, the Tribune Chronicle reports. GM and LG Chem “will mass produce battery cells for future battery-electric vehicles” at the Lordstown plant (see our March 31, 2020 blog post) that is expected to create more than 1,100 new jobs, the article reports. GM earlier announced “a strategy to grow the company’s electric vehicle [EV] sales quickly,” the heart of which “is a modular propulsion system and the highly flexible, third-generation global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries.” The Ultium batteries are unique “because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack,” allowing engineers “to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.” For more, read the full article

State Updates
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3