Posts Authored by Zachary D. Eddy

Columbus first non-attainment area in nation to meet ozone air quality standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio EPA recently announced “the Columbus area is the first non-attainment area in the nation to meet the most recent federal air quality standard for ozone,” according to a news release. Recent air monitoring data “show the Columbus area now meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone in addition to all other federal air quality standards set to protect public health,” the release reports. With that designation, businesses in the area “will face fewer air permitting restrictions paving the way for infrastructure investment and economic development that will create jobs.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Environmental, State Updates

AEP acquires Sempra Renewables as part of long-term diversification strategy

The competitive renewable energy subsidiary of American Electric Power, AEP Clean Energy Resources, “has completed the purchase of Sempra Renewables LLC and its 724 MW [megawatts] of operating wind generation and battery assets,” nawindpower.com reports. The purchase “includes all or part of seven wind farms and one battery installation in seven states,” according to the article. Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO, said the move supports the company’s “long-term strategy to diversify our generation fleet,” adding, “[w]e’ve targeted a total of $2.2 billion in capital investment in competitive, contracted renewables by 2023.” This acquisition increases AEP’s renewable generation portfolio to 1,075 MW. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy

Green joins Akron-Summit County ESID

Local businesses in the City of Green will have access to grant funding for energy improvements, now that the city has entered into the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District (ESID), CantonRep.com reports. Councilman and intergovernmental and utilities committee chair Stephan Dyer said joining the ESID will allow businesses to apply for the funding for projects such as energy efficient lighting or roofing upgrades. Additionally, Summit County will be able to finance a light bulb replacement project for a county property in Green. For more, read the full article.

 

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

Cleveland microgrid would protect against outages

Cuyahoga County’s Sustainability office has proposed a four-square-mile microgrid in and around downtown Cleveland that would protect the area against power outages (see our November 12, 2018 blog post), Crain’s Cleveland reports. The redundant power grid is billed as “a more resilient power source with less downtime and fewer brownouts” that would pair with Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Thermal, “with the addition of an ultra-efficient ‘smart grid’ technology,” according to the article. The Cleveland Foundation board of directors recently approved a $200,000 grant “to fund the management of the RFQ/RFP process” for the project. A multiyear feasibility study showed “companies moving into the microgrid area could generate more than 1,000 new jobs in the county, resulting in nearly $100 million in income” and additional tax revenues of approximately $2.8 million per year. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Warren County park solar project also combats pollinator habitat loss

A solar array that has been providing most of the electric power for Warren County’s 311-acre Armco Park during the daytime “is also designed to combat the loss of habitat” for pollinators, the Journal-News reports. The 256-kilowatt array’s “bee and butterfly factor” is what “puts it over the top,” said Jim Yockey, the contractor financing the array, according to the article. Since March, the 745-panel solar system has “been providing 90 to 95 percent of the electric power for the park’s 18-hole golf course, softball complex, tennis and basketball courts, restrooms, concession stand and other facilities.” The project is “expected to reduce the park’s ‘carbon footprint,’ while fighting declines in species needed to pollinate ‘about one third of the world-wide food supply.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

DOE funding projects to develop next-gen wind turbine drivetrain technologies

Four projects that “will develop more efficient, smaller and lighter-weight generators” for wind turbines “to lower costs and make wind power more affordable” will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), nawindpower.com reports. The DOE has “selected four projects totaling up to $8 million to develop next-generation wind turbine drivetrain technologies for onshore and offshore applications,” according to the article. Two projects, by ABB Inc. of Raleigh, NC, and WEG Energy Corp. of Duluth, GA, “are developing direct-drive permanent-magnet designs.” The other two, by American Superconductor Corp. of Ayer, MA, and GE Research of Niskayuna, NY, “will develop superconducting generators.” The DOE will select one project “to receive up to $6.4 million to build and test a scaled prototype of the generator on a wind turbine.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Project Finance, Renewable Energy

Ohio House energy reform bill: “most significant rewrite” of energy laws in over a decade

A bill to create the Ohio Clean Air Program would enact the biggest changes to the state’s energy laws in more than 10 years, providing “incentives to build and maintain power plants that have zero or reduced emissions of carbon dioxide,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. House Bill 6 “would impose a monthly fee of 50 cents in 2020 and $2.50 after that on the electric bill of residential consumers,” with commercial and industrial users paying more. The bill “would eliminate charges averaging $4.39 per month” designed to help consumers reduce electricity consumption, thereby resulting in net savings for those customers. The new monthly fees would generate an expected $300 million annually by 2021; the Ohio Air Quality Board “would determine how the money is shared among the state’s power companies.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, State Updates

Medina looking to create ESID to enable PACE financing

An Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) could be up and running in Medina by the summer, allowing businesses to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, The Gazette reports. Medina Economic Development Director Kimberly Marshall and Medina County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Bethany Dentler have been working on creating an ESID board “that would oversee projects funded through a PACE lender,” according to the article. Marshall “said she’s been approached by a couple of businesses interested in PACE financing,” and Dentler said PACE financing is “gaining popularity in the state of Ohio. . . . We want to use this tool.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

OPSB approves 150-MW Willowbrook Solar Farm construction

State regulators recently approved a project to construct a new, 150-megawatt (MW) solar farm in southwest Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The Willowbrook Solar farm “will consist of arrays of solar panels on up to 1,726 acres in Eagle Township in Brown County and Concord and White Oak townships in Highland County,” the article reports. Construction is expected to begin this year, with the farm becoming operational in early 2021. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Energy innovation center will anchor OSU’s west campus innovation district

A multi-phase project to create an Energy Advancement and Innovation Center at The Ohio State University (OSU) “could be the glue” that holds the school’s emerging west campus innovation district together, Columbus Business First reports. The project was part of the bidding process for OSU’s energy management partnership with Engie and Axium (see our April 12, 2017 blog post). Serdar Tufekci, CEO of Ohio State Energy Partners — an entity formed by OSU and Engie — said “the innovation district is the ‘perfect fit’” for what his group wants to accomplish, “a place to take the research ideas from the Interdisciplinary Research Facility and ‘turn them into innovative products or processes that can have an impact.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, State Updates
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