Posts Authored by E. Nicki Hewell

Ohio House bill takes another swing at renewable energy mandates

A revised version of Ohio House Bill 114 (HB 114) would require utilities to “find more of their power from renewable sources like solar and wind,” but lower the mandated amounts from the original standards created in 2008, The Toledo Blade reports. HB 114’s new final mandate calls for 8.5 percent renewable power by 2022 instead of 12.5 percent by 2027, while also requiring utilities to “reduce electricity use by 17.2 percent, down from 22.2 percent, by 2027.” Additionally, the bill proposes changing wind turbine setback requirements to 1,125 feet from the nearest habitable residence for wind farms generating at least 5 megawatts of power. Current regulations require a setback of 1,125 feet from the nearest property line. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Growing solar company expanding to central Ohio

A solar energy and roofing company listed as one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing private companies wants to extend that growth into Central Ohio, Columbus Business First reports. Power Home Solar and Roofing, based in North Carolina, plans to hire 65-70 people for its new Worthington office. The company designs, sells, finances, installs and services home solar panels, as well as working in commercial, utility and government real estate, according to the article. Jayson Waller, a co-founder of Power Home Solar, said the company’s mission is to help consumers save money and “gain energy independence over the rising costs of power by harnessing the sun’s natural energy to create a cleaner environment for future generations.” For more, read the full article.  

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Ohio State Energy Partners focused on carbon neutrality by 2050

Serdar Tufekci, CEO of Ohio State Energy Partners (OSEP), said his company is focused on long-term sustainability goals, and won’t compromise those goals for greater profit, The Lantern reports. The public-private partnership with The Ohio State University (OSU) has various sustainability goals, such as cutting emissions by 25 percent over the course of the next decade and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. OSEP plans to decrease OSU’s reliance on its current energy grid, which is owned by American Electric Power and draws energy from coal, natural gas and renewable power generation. OSEP plans to employ a microgrid to gain “more control over what sources of energy are being used” and invest in clean energy, including rooftop solar panels, on campus. Tufekci said OSEP is focused on a long-term vision, and that the company doesn’t “come up with projects that don’t solve the 2050 target,” even if the financial return would be “fantastic.” For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy

Several groups helping make Northeast Ohio greener

Businesses and nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are increasingly looking to reduce energy costs and lessen their environmental impact; environmentalists and other advocates say several organizations are helping make that happen, Cleveland.com reports. KeyBank’s Key4Green business segment is “a group of bankers who understand the (renewable energy) industry, and they help clients understand tax implications and the tax credits available,” the article reports. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is in the permitting process to build six offshore wind turbines several miles off the Lake Erie coast (see our August 25, 2017 blog post). Rust Belt Riders “collect food waste that would normally go into the garbage and distribute it” to urban farmers and community gardeners to use as fertilizer, diverting the waste from landfills. The Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that “helps building owners and property managers reduce their electricity use and lower CO2 emissions.” For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy

Cincinnati ranks in top five solar cities in Midwest

Environment Ohio's Shining Cities 2018 report shows Cincinnati is "the leading solar city" in Ohio as well as one of the "top five solar cities in the Midwest," Soapbox Cincinnati reports. The report categorizes Cincinnati as a "Solar Leader," meaning the city has between 25 and 50 watts of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed per capita. "Solar Leader" is the second-highest designation a city can earn. For more, read the full article or click here for the full report.

Renewable Energy

St. Clairsville, Caldwell prisons awarded $11M in OAQDA financing for energy upgrades

A proposed energy conservation project at two Ohio prisons will receive $11 million in financing from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) to help fund upgrades to reduce energy and water consumption, The Daily Jeff reports. Johnson Controls Inc., will use the OAQDA financing for the installation of lighting retrofits, enhanced energy management systems, and water conservation measures at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville and Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell. The project is expected to “reduce utility bills, operations and maintenance at both facilities combined by $1,042,360.17 annually, or approximately 21 percent,” according to the article. The resulting carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions reduction will be equivalent to the amount produced by 1,137 cars on the road or 573 homes’ electricity usage. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance

Fifth Third plans to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp recently became the first bank and first Fortune 500 company “to contract for 100 percent renewable power through a single new project,” The Toledo Blade reports. The company announced a power purchase agreement that will result in the construction of a $200-million, 80-megawatt solar project in North Carolina, which will generate about 194,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 144,000 metric tons each year, equivalent to emissions produced by 30,800 passenger cars or 21,600 homes. Scott Hassell, Fifth Third’s vice president and director of environmental sustainability, said the company has been working for years to increase sustainability and energy efficiency. For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy

U.S. Energy storage surpasses 1,000 MWh deployed, no longer “nascent”

After reaching a significant milestone in 2017, with more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) now deployed, the U.S. energy storage market is poised for a breakout in 2018, nawindpower.com reports. The U.S. Energy Storage Monitor 2017 Year-in-Review, released by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and GTM Research, forecasts the deployment of an additional 1,000 MWh this year. Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said, “[w]e’re going to have to strike the word ‘nascent’ from our vocabularies when describing the U.S. energy storage market.” Manghani cited falling costs and favorable policies as “core drivers of the market’s breakout in 2018.” A recent ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) intended to remove barriers to market entry that new technologies such as energy storage faced under previous market rules (see our March 8, 2018 blog post). For more, read the full article

Miscellaneous

FERC votes to remove barriers to “participation of electric storage resources” by RTOs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said its recently released final rule on electric storage participation will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale markets,” nawindpower.com reports. The FERC “voted to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs),” according to the article. The commission noted in a November 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that “market rules designed for traditional generation resources can create barriers to entry for emerging technologies such as electric storage resources.” The final rule helps to remove those barriers by requiring each RTO “to revise its tariff to establish a participation model for electric storage resources that consist of market rules that properly recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates

Duke Energy settlement will fund energy efficiency financing for consumers

A new program will allow Ohio residential Duke Energy service customers to apply for interest-free loans for energy efficiency upgrades, Cincinnati.com reports. As part of Duke Energy’s $80 million settlement in an overbilling dispute, the utility has awarded a $500,000 grant to energy analytics firm EmpowerSaves and housing nonprofit Cincinnati Development for the program. Officials “hope to lend out the $500,000 to roughly 200 to 250 homeowners or landlords to each make upwards of $3,500 worth of energy improvements” including insulation and smart thermostats, according to the article. Customers will pay back the loans “over three to five years with the savings from the upgrades.” As the money is paid back, it would be loaned out again. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency
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