Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

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,” 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, 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, 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

Amendment introduced would prohibit foreign ownership in critical Ohio infrastructure

Introduced on October 26, 2019, House Joint Resolution 2 (HJR 2), titled the “Ohio Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment,” seeks to place a constitutional amendment before Ohio voters prohibiting foreign businesses and individuals from having a majority ownership interest in critical infrastructure located in Ohio. HJR 2 is a state legislative proposal that could profoundly affect business in Ohio. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

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, 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
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