Posts Authored by Dylan F. Borchers

Wind and solar make big jumps in annual PJM capacity auction

PJM Interconnection’s annual capacity auction, which “procures power supply resources to meet electricity needs for three years from now,” saw big increases in wind and solar resources, nawindpower.com reports. PJM “procured 163,627 megawatts [MW] of resources for the period of June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022,” according to the article. Solar increased over last year’s auction “more than fourfold, with around 570 MW clearing,” while 1,417 MW of wind cleared, an increase over last year of 529 MW. Additionally, the auction cleared “1,000 MW more gas-fired generation than last year,” including “one new combined cycle plant.” Energy efficiency was also up about 1,100 MW, with 3,832 MW clearing. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

NOPEC offering USDA low-interest loans for small business energy upgrades

Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) is the first organization in Ohio to offer new U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loans designed to “help small businesses lower their energy consumption and costs through energy-efficient upgrades,” The Morning Journal reports. Owners of commercial property within a NOPEC member community are eligible to apply for financing for projects ranging from $5,000 to $100,000; the program is open to “private sector office, retail and industrial and public-sector facilities — such as government, health care, education” and apartment buildings with more than four units. Energy upgrades that qualify include HVAC, interior and exterior lighting, insulation, windows and doors, and other renewable energy projects such as solar water heating systems. For larger projects, NOPEC offers financing up to $500,000 through its Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, program. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

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
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