Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

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

Air Force awards $7.4M grant to UT for solar cell project

The University of Toledo (UT)’s “long commitment to solar power” has led to a $7.4 million grant “to have its physics and astronomy department try to develop lighter and more efficient solar cells for the Air Force,” The Toledo Blade reports. The department is being asked to produce tandem technology cells “out of lighter and more flexible materials than glass, such as certain ceramics” and to try to “stack them in a way in which more wavelengths from sunlight can be absorbed,” according to the article. Such cells could become a “primary source of energy used to keep satellites in orbit” or to “help power manned fighter jets used in combat, or large military drones used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.” U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), called UT “a worldwide leader driving innovation in photovoltaics research, education and application.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Lucas County PACE program benefits homeowners

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s pilot program to expand Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to homeowners has “brokered more than $400,000 in loans to 39 dwellings,” The Toledo Blade reports. Elana Echols used the program to finance a new, energy-efficient furnace, and “said the lower energy bills she paid during the winter offset the higher amount on her property tax,” according to the article. Port authority leaders “are now working to expand the residential PACE program to a statewide initiative.” Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron and Canton have already signed on to participate. Paul Toth, outgoing president and CEO of the port authority, “said he believes the full program will be up and running by the end of the year.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, 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

Senate bill proposes federal standard for U.S. renewable electricity generation

The recently introduced Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Act of 2019 would put the United States “on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050,” nawindpower.com reports. The Senate bill “is proposing a target of at least 50% renewable electricity nationwide” by 2035, by requiring electricity providers to increase their supply of renewable energy “by a percentage of total retail sales each year, starting in 2020,” according to the article. Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said the RES would “drive investment in our nation’s power generation infrastructure, improve affordability and reliability for our customers, and accelerate the ongoing transition to America’s renewable energy economy.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

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

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

First quarter of 2019 propels U.S. wind power construction to record level

U.S. project developers announced new wind farms with a total capacity of 6,146 megawatts (MW) in the first quarter of 2019, propelling “the total volume of U.S. wind power construction and development activity to a record level,” nawindpower.com reports. The article cites American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)’s newly released “U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2019 Market Report,” which shows this additional capacity brings the United States to “a new record of 39,161 MW” in development. Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said, “America’s largest source of renewable energy generating capacity is on a path to grow by 40 percent in the near term. In doing so, we’ll create thousands of additional American jobs and new economic opportunities for factory towns and rural communities across the country.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

Columbus Business First unpacks Bricker’s Energy Exchange event, EV charging station

Spotlighting the future state of electric vehicles both in Central Ohio and statewide, Columbus Business First summarized the recent discussion that took place at Bricker & Eckler’s May 9, 2019, "Energy Exchange" event. The event, hosted by the firm’s energy attorneys for industry professionals, focused this time around on electric vehicles and their potential to propel Ohio as a nationwide leader in advanced and renewable technology.

How electric vehicles could change Ohio’s power grid” illustrates that electric vehicle adoption and usage is on the rise in Ohio. A few catalysts to this increase include the availability of convenient charging stations, funding incentives for both vehicles and charging stations and decreasing costs of the technology. Locally, enhancing the appeal of “going electric” has been a collaborative effort. Participating in a panel discussion at the event were representatives from the Ohio House of Representatives, Smart Columbus and ChargePoint, all of whom described the importance of both public and private investment to continue development in this area.

At the conclusion of the event, Bricker tangibly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the growth of electric vehicles in downtown Columbus, announcing that the firm will install an electric vehicle charging station on its property this summer. Bricker is the first Ohio law firm to do so and hopes this endeavor will encourage other businesses to join the effort to advance this technology for local citizens.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities

Bricker & Eckler becomes first Ohio law firm with EV charging station

Bricker & Eckler is the first law firm in the state to install an electric vehicle charging station on its property. The firm’s EV charging station, deployed by ChargePoint, will be located among several parking spaces at the rear of the building. Employees, as well as client guests, will be permitted to use the station during business hours. Outside of regular business hours and on weekends, the station will be available for public use. The installation of Bricker & Eckler’s EV charging station is scheduled for Summer 2019 and will be operational shortly after. Read more >>

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities
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