Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

Proposed $100M Cleveland microgrid would make downtown power-secure

Two university energy centers have proposed a $100-million microgrid that could protect downtown Cleveland businesses from power failures and cyber attacks on the grid, Cleveland.com reports. The proposal, which Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University prepared for the Cleveland Foundation, said commercial customers “would have clean power delivered in a cyber-secure system designed to be operational 99.999 percent” of the time, translating to “less than 6 minutes of power loss per year,” the article reports. The grid “would be designed to ‘island’ itself from the larger grid if needed” to insulate customers from regional or national blackouts. An economic impact study “predicts the project by 2026 would create as many as 2,264 jobs with annual earnings of nearly $162 million.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, State Updates

“Bring Your Green” participants saved more than $600K in energy costs

Results of the ‘Bring Your Green 2.0 Challenge’ were recently announced by Dayton Power & Light (DP&L), Dayton Regional Green, IGS Energy, Vectren and Energy Optimizers, the Dayton Daily News reports. Local businesses, schools and organizations “competed to reduce their environmental impact, save energy and resources, and engage their employees and students in sustainability efforts,” according to the article. The challenge resulted in energy cost savings of $639,644, more than “6,875 tons of CO2 release into the atmosphere prevented,” 6,867,064 kWh in electricity saved, and the equivalent “to taking 935 homes off the grid and 1,336 cars off the road.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

PUCO unveils roadmap for modernizing Ohio’s power grid

A “wave of change” in how consumers and businesses use electricity is coming, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is helping utilities prepare with its recently released report, “PowerForward: A Roadmap to Ohio’s Electricity Future,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. PUCO Chairman Asim Haque said, “[t]he grid has to be modernized, its infrastructure and method of delivery are many, many decades old,” according to the article. Columbus Business First reports Haque said that utilities must “undertake modernizations that take into account new technologies, renewable energy, electric vehicles, home interfaces like smart thermostats as well as big-picture security issues like emergent cybersecurity threats.” PUCO will use the report “as a framework as it regulates energy infrastructure investment in the coming years,” according to Columbus Business First. For more, read the full Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Business First articles. 

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Acting EPA head says new clean-air plan gives states more flexibility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule will “provide more flexibility to the states” than the Clean Power Plan, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, according to an article in The Columbus Dispatch. Wheeler said the EPA “will issue efficiency guidelines to states for each type of power plant, which the states will use to ‘set specific efficiency requirements on an plant-to-plant basis,’” according to the article. The Clean Power Plan “sought to reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030," but “never went into effect after numerous legal challenges.” Wheeler said the new proposed plan returns “to the core basics of the Clean Air Act, which is working cooperatively with the states.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Federal Updates

EmberClear investing nearly $1B in 1,050-MW Harrison combined-cycle plant

A new natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant in Harrison Industrial Park will increase efficiency, create jobs, and generate millions in payments to local governments and schools, the Herald-Star reports. Texas-based energy development company EmberClear “is investing nearly $1 billion in construction” for the 1,050-megawatt power plant in the Harrison Industrial Park. The plant, which will create 700 construction jobs and more than 20 permanent positions, “will be designed to meet the growing industrial demands fueled by the local natural gas economy and replace older, less efficient plants,” according to the article. EmberClear will receive a 15-year property tax exemption as part of a P.I.L.O.T (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement; in exchange, the developer will pay $31 million to Harrison County, the Harrison Hills City School District, and local villages and townships. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives

Athens Water Treatment Plant installs solar panels to reduce energy usage

New solar panels are being installed as part of a capital improvement project at the Athens Water Treatment Plant, the city’s second-largest electricity user, The Athens News reports. Third Sun Solar, an Athens-based company, is installing the panels, which “are expected to generate 178.5 kilowatts of energy,” or approximately “50 percent of the plant’s electrical needs,” according to the article. City Director of Engineering and Public Works Bob Heady said the city is “working with the AEP Ohio Business Incentive Program to receive incentives” for reducing energy consumption. Athens received funding through the Ohio EPA’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account for the project, Heady said. For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy

Ohio’s solar capacity increased by 2,600% in 10 years, report says

A new report by Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center shows the state’s renewable energy generation has grown exponentially since 2008, Columbus Free Press reports. Ohio “went from producing 1 Gigawatt [GWh] hour of solar energy and 15 GWh of wind energy in 2008, to now producing 260 GWh of solar energy and 1,563 GWh of wind energy,” according to the article. Nancy Goodes, Campaign Organizer for Environment Ohio, said the past decade “has seen explosive growth in the key technologies to power Ohio with clean, renewable energy. Ohio is poised to accelerate its shift away from fossil fuels.” The report’s authors called on both the state and federal government to strengthen clean power standards and “continue to allow Ohio to grow its renewable energy industry.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Ohio’s first landfill-based solar farm nearly complete

Cuyahoga County’s 4-megawatt solar array on 17 acres of the City of Brooklyn’s former landfill is expected to begin generating power in test mode by the end of July, Cleveland.com reports. The array is the first one in Ohio to be built on a former landfill, but county officials are “interested in evaluating” some of the “more than 70 old landfills” for future solar arrays, according to the article. Columbus-based IGS Solar developed the array, and Cleveland Public Power is buying all of the output on behalf of Cuyahoga County. The county expects the solar farm “to shave about $3 million from its power bills over the next 25 years . . . because its pricing will remain unchanged.” Mike Foley, the county’s sustainability director, said the array is “one step toward controlling the county’s future energy costs while at the same time supporting renewable energy.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Battery storage could propel wind and solar to power half the world

Falling battery costs will have a “huge impact” on the world’s electricity mix in the coming decades, and “could help wind and solar rise to 50% of the world’s electricity generation by 2050,” nawindpower.com reports. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s annual “long-term analysis of the future of the global electricity system, New Energy Outlook (NEO) 2018,” predicts $11.5 trillion in new power generation capacity investments between 2018 and 2050, with $8.4 trillion in wind and solar power. Seb Henbest, lead author of NEO 2018, said, “[t]he arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy

NTE Energy’s $600M Middletown Energy Center largest development in city’s history

The recently opened Middletown Energy Center is not only Middletown’s biggest development project to date, but also “will be among the cleanest and most efficient natural gas fired power plants in the nation,” the Dayton Daily News reports. The 475-megawatt power plant “not only uses natural gas to create energy, but also uses heat created by the power-generation process” to drive a steam turbine to produce additional power, according to the article. City officials said NTE’s investment in the facility is “almost twice the size of the approximately $350 million Liberty Center that opened October 2016 in Liberty Twp.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Environmental
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