Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

AEP funding OSU research on cyber-resilient power grids

Columbus-based American Electric Power has provided a $250,000 grant for Ohio State University (OSU) to research cyber-resilient power grids, Columbus Business First reports. OSU’s Electric Power Grid Research Group will conduct the research into making “electric power distribution networks safer from cyber attacks,” according to the article. Julie Sloat, president and COO of AEP Ohio, said in a statement, “[i]ncreased connectivity creates new entry points for potential attackers and poses new challenges for grid security, so we are thrilled we are able to provide this funding.” David Williams, dean of the OSU College of Engineering, said in the statement, “[e]lectric power generation and distribution are areas of great interest to all of us, not just now, but into the future. . . . The security of our electric power system goes right to the heart of our civilization.” For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Couple ties the knot at One Energy wind campus in Findlay, Ohio

On June 2, 2018, One Energy technical manager Erin Kashawlic and her soon-to-be husband held their marriage ceremony at the One Energy North Findlay Wind Campus that she helped develop and construct. According to North American Wind Power, the wedding offered turbine tours and yard games for guests, as well as oversized pinwheel decorations. Kashawlic and groom Chris Roekle chose the site so their guests could see their home city and wind energy from a different angle. “Erin and Chris exchanging vows just a couple hundred feet from the spinning turbines, surrounded by family and friends, was a perfect backdrop to a beautiful day,” said Angela DeBoskey, head of storytelling for One Energy.

Miscellaneous, Renewable Energy

Power plant projects investing more than $4.6B in Mahoning Valley

Investment numbers for several new energy plants in the Mahoning Valley are “unlike any the region has witnessed in decades,” totaling more than $4.6 billion, The Business Journal reports. The abundance of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales “has emerged as the fulcrum” for the future of the energy industry, according to the article. Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future LLC, said, “[w]hat’s happening in the industry right now is equivalent to the automobile replacing the horse and buggy,” as aging coal-fired and nuclear plants’ higher operating costs make it harder for them to compete with natural gas and combined-cycled plants. Clean Energy Future developed the Lordstown Energy Center and is working on a second Lordstown plant, both valued at about $890 million (see our October 13, 2017 blog post). Advanced Power “plans to invest $1.1 billion” in its South Field Energy plant in Columbiana County. Across Ohio, “11 new combined-cycle electrical generation plants worth an estimated $10.5 billion are either recently completed, under construction or in the planning or permit stages.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, State Updates

Athens residents vote for SOPEC carbon fee

A first-of-its-kind proposed 0.2-cent carbon fee for Athens city electrical customers (see our January 26, 2018 blog post) passed with 76.34 percent of the vote in the May election, The Athens News reports. The new carbon fee “will only apply to customers enrolled in the SOPEC [Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council] Opt-Out Electric Aggregation Program,” and will cost the average household using 800-900 kilowatt hours of electricity between $1.60 and $1.80 each month, according to the article. SOPEC Executive Director Eddie Smith said he is “extremely thrilled that we are going to be the first municipality in the entire United States that has figured out the carbon price program.” The carbon fee will help fund a community solar program; SOPEC will work with the Athens City Council and Mayor’s office to plan hearings to determine the rules for that program. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy

PUCO approves AEP plan to expand renewables, EV charging stations

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently approved AEP Ohio’s Electric Security Plan (ESP) that will allow the company to “expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging and renewable generation,” nawindpower.com reports. AEP Ohio had previously committed to developing an additional 900 megawatts of renewable power generation in the state; the ESP “provides a method for AEP Ohio to request approval from the PUCO for the development of new renewable resources.” Additionally, a “program to expand EV charging station availability will be created as part of the Smart Columbus initiative.” Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer, said the plan allows the company “to bring these services, which also will support economic development in Ohio, to customers across the state.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, Smart Cities

Solon City Council approves request to join ESID to allow PACE financing

Businesses in Solon will now be able to seek funding for energy efficiency improvements through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, Cleveland.com reports. Solon City Council signed off on a request to join the Northeast Ohio Advanced Energy District, the closest Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), of which Solon neighbor Bedford Heights is a member. This means Solon meets the adjacency requirement to join, and First Suburbs Consortium would handle all applications for Solon businesses. City Economic Development Manager Peggy Weil Dorfman brought the request to join the ESID to City Council after a Solon company inquired about making $100,000 in building improvements that would qualify for PACE financing. Bricker & Eckler LLP provided information to the City Council about PACE financing and PACE projects in the region such as the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance

FirstEnergy Solutions continuing to operate while waiting for DOE response

Nuclear power plant owner FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), a subsidiary of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., won the right to continue operating and paying bills in the company’s first day hearing in federal bankruptcy court, Cleveland.com reports. FES has asked the U.S. Department of Energy for help to keep its nuclear and some coal-fired power plants in business (see our April 17, 2018 blog post). In a recent article in The Washington Post, Jack M. Tracy II, head of legal analysis at New York research firm Debtwire, said the FES request will test “whether Trump’s policies are having an effect on the coal industry and bringing it back.” Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. is one of FirstEnergy’s main suppliers of coal; Murray spokesperson Gary Broadbent “blames much of FirstEnergy’s trouble on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] for not complying with the Trump administration’s plan to invoke the Federal Power Act,” the Herald-Star reports. Broadbent said further closings of nuclear and coal-fired power plants will cause electricity costs to “skyrocket.” For more, read the full Cleveland.com, Washington Post, and Herald-Star articles. 

Renewable Energy

FirstEnergy subsidiary asks federal government to rescue nuclear plants, declares bankruptcy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is likely to have the final say on whether FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. is able to continue producing power at its nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy, announced plans to shut down its Perry, Davis-Besse, and Beaver Valley nuclear plants, which collectively account for a steady stream of about 4 billion watts of electricity. After making that announcement, the company filed an emergency request with the DOE asking for help to keep the three nuclear plants as well as some coal-fired plants operating. Regional grid operator PJM Interconnection had previously stated the nuclear plants were not needed to maintain grid reliability (see our July 3, 2017 blog post). After FirstEnergy Solutions submitted the request to the DOE, the company declared bankruptcy, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. That filing does not involve FirstEnergy “or its distribution, transmission, regulated generation and Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiaries,” according to the Beacon Journal. For more, read the full Washington Post and Akron Beacon Journal articles.  

State Updates

Plummeting costs for wind, solar and battery technology threaten coal and gas

The economic case for coal and gas power generation faces “a mounting threat” as the costs for wind, solar and battery technology see “spectacular reductions,” new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows, according to a recent article in nawindpower.com. A BNEF report on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) “finds that fossil-fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it performs in the energy mix — the supply of bulk generation, the supply of dispatchable generation and the provision of flexibility,” the article reports. Wind and solar are becoming a bigger threat for bulk generation, as their LCOEs have reduced due to falling capital costs, increased efficiency and competitive auctions. The pairing of wind and solar power with battery storage allows those renewable sources of generation to smooth output, challenging new coal and gas on dispatchable power. In flexibility, stand-alone batteries are starting to compete with open-cycle gas plants on price. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy

Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would help train offshore wind workforce

Three Congressional lawmakers recently introduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act to support the education and training of offshore wind workers, nawindpower.com reports. Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass), Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass), and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz) said the new federal grant program will assist state and local governments, colleges and universities, unions, and nonprofits to develop health and safety programs, curricula, and internships to develop an offshore wind workforce. The bill prioritizes “grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry.” Rep. Grijalva said, “[w]ind power is a huge part of building the cleaner, more sustainable economy we all deserve, and it can play an even bigger role with the right support.” For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10