Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether state EPA can enforce federal act in Rover Pipeline case

The Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether the Ohio Environmental Protection Ageny (EPA) lost jurisdiction to enforce the federal Clean Water Act to hold Rover Pipeline LLC accountable for dumping “millions of gallons of mud mixed with diesel fuel in pristine wetlands in 2017,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. Rover “argues that the state failed to act within one year of Rover’s application for specific certifications” under the act, therefore waiving the requirements, according to the article. A brief filed by the Ohio Attorney General’s office argues the act “does not say that states, if they fail to timely issue a water-quality certification, forfeit their power to enforce all state environmental laws that the permittee later violates.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

DriveOhio outlines statewide strategy for EV charging

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s DriveOhio initiative “has finalized a study to expand electric vehicles (EV) access” throughout the state, identifying “key steps” needed to expand Ohio’s EV impact, Knox Pages reports. A key recommendation is to install EV charging stations “at least every 50 miles at strategic locations along interstate, state and US route corridors,” according to the article. In coordination with this study, the Ohio EPA is accepting applications for $3.5 million in grants to fund publicly accessible chargers in 26 counties (see our July 27, 2020 blog post); another $5 million in grants for Direct Current Fast chargers will be released in early 2021. Jack Marchbanks, Director of ODOT, said by working toward EV-friendly corridors, “Ohio will continue leading the way in the changing landscape of transportation.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates

$1B Gemini Solar Project will be largest solar project in U.S. history

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a proposal to construct and operate a 690-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar energy facility about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, greenlodgingnews.com reports. The estimated $1 billion Gemini Solar Project “could be the eighth-largest solar power facility in the world when finished and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 260,000 homes in the Las Vegas area and potential energy markets in Southern California,” according to the article. Project construction “is anticipated to average 500 to 700 construction workers” at a time, “supporting up to an additional 1,100 jobs in the local community and injecting an estimated $712.5 million into the economy in wages and total output during construction.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

Energy storage, mobile chargers will “tackle grid challenges” from EV adoption

Although electric vehicle (EV) sales are likely to remain flat this year due to COVID-19’s impact on the economy, the strong long-term outlook for EV sales will create challenges for the electric grid, Utility Dive reports. Newer vehicles will increase stress on the grid “due to their larger batteries and capacity for faster charging,” according to the article. Rhombus Energy Solutions CEO Rick Sander said “[i]ntegrating energy storage with vehicle-to-grid capable chargers and smart [energy management system] solutions” will be one effective mitigation strategy. Consulting firm Guidehouse said mobile chargers deployed by a van or other mobile units will provide a flexible approach to meet demand. Mobile and temporary EV charging “will grow from 0.5% to 2% of the charging market by 2030,” according to Guidehouse. For more, read the full article.

Miscellaneous

Columbus’s energy benchmarking ordinance is the first in Ohio

Officials in Columbus “are getting ready to help building owners comply with the state’s first energy benchmarking ordinance,” which will require those owners “to report data on building size, energy usage and utility bills,” energynews.us reports. An EPA energy manager program will use that data to provide “Energy Star scores for energy and water usage,” according to the article. Stefan Schaffer, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s city strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge, said the building sector “accounts for the majority of carbon emissions in Columbus,” at 58%. Cities that have adopted benchmarking policies have reported a 3% to 8% reduction in annual carbon emissions two to four years after implementation. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

Cleveland Heights going greener with more solar panels on city buildings

Cleveland Heights city officials “plan to go greener in the coming months,” adding rooftop solar installations to three more city buildings, Cleveland.com reports. City Council is expected to authorize a 30-year contract with Enerlogics Solar LLC to add solar panels to City Hall, the Community Center and the Service Department garage, according to the article. The city will piggyback “on a Cuyahoga County Aggregated Solar Project administered through the county’s Cooperative Purchasing Program” and pay no setup cost for the generation and distribution systems. Cleveland Heights Capital Projects Manager Joe Kickel said the electricity “will be consumed exclusively at each respective facility,” increasing the city’s usage of “green energy.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

2019 was second-biggest year for new installed wind power

Installations totaling 60.4 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity wind power worldwide made 2019 the second-biggest year on record for wind power, nawindpower.com reports. The article cites a recently released report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) that showed year-over-year growth of 19% and a total global capacity for wind energy over 651 GW, “an increase of 10% compared to 2018.” Market-based mechanisms were the main driver of growth, “with auctioned wind capacity in 2019 surpassing 40 GW worldwide, accounting for two-thirds of total new capacity and doubling auctioned capacity” compared to the previous year. The report forecasts continued growth, with “over 355 GW of wind energy capacity potentially added over the next five years.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy

GM bringing innovative processes to planned battery-cell plant

General Motors “is looking for 100 percent renewable energy” in its planned $2.3-billion Lordstown battery-cell plant, and will implement innovative processes in line with the company’s “sustainability strategy and all-electric future,” The Vindicator reports. More than half of the plant’s main 2.5-million-square-foot building will be “considered a ‘clean room’ with low humidity to assemble the cells,” according to the article. Plant manager Tom Gallagher said plans include “a green infrastructure that includes how we construct the building all the way through how it’s operated to be really the lowest number of resources used to operate the facility. . . . how we are going to capture and reuse will be in line from how we produce the cell all the way through its production, and any kind of byproducts will be retained and recycled and reused where they can be.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Cleveland startup awarded $1M federal grant for new solar racking system

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $1-million Small Business Innovation Research grant to Cleveland-based Acme Express for a new solar racking system that “will change the way solar panels are installed throughout the industry,” TechStartups reports. The “single component Roll-A-Rack,” in which roll-form machines produce custom solar racking on demand, “is significantly simpler than today’s multicomponent racking systems,” according to the article. The grant will fund research and further testing of Roll-A-Rack, including efficiency refinements. Don Scipione, president of Acme Express, said Roll-A-Rack will make solar energy “far more accessible and affordable.” The system is expected to be commercially available by the end of 2020. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Cuyahoga County solar projects will save money, protect environment

New solar energy installations on three Cuyahoga County buildings will save taxpayer dollars while also protecting the environment as part of the county’s Climate Change Action Plan, County Executive Armond Budish said in a recent Newsradio WTAM 1100 article. Solar panels installed at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Harvard Road Garage are expected to save the county $900,000 over 25 years, according to the article. Budish said, “we have committed to adding more renewable energy into both our properties and the local grid as a whole.” The county is also assisting Lakewood with solar projects on four city-owned buildings, which are expected to save the city $855,000 in energy costs over 30 years. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates
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