Lame duck results in energy-efficiency deductions for public buildings and airport development districts

New legislation enacted during the recent lame duck session of the General Assembly may alter the allocation of the federal income tax deduction granted for the design and installation of energy-efficient commercial building fixtures. Substitute Senate Bill 259, signed by Governor DeWine on January 9, 2021, requires public entities to allocate the energy-efficient buildings tax deduction to designers of public buildings upon such designers' requests. (Note that public entities are prohibited from accepting fees, payments, or any other consideration for allocating the deduction.) After receiving an allocation request, the public entity has 15 days to respond, otherwise, the request is treated as though it was approved. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Bricker & Eckler, with national and state partners, to host PACE market update webinar

Bricker & Eckler, along with national and state partners, will host a webinar Tuesday, January 12, 11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST, to recap significant PACE industry developments from 2020 and preview what’s on the horizon for 2021. The webinar will focus on the Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania markets. Special guest Colin Bishopp, Executive Director of PACENation, will share a national perspective of the PACE landscape. More information >>

Energy Efficiency, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Hillsboro farm goes solar with 60-panel rooftop installation

The Rhoads family farm east of Hillsboro is harvesting sunlight to power farm operations, including two houses and a barn, through 60 rooftop solar panels installed on the barn, The Highland County Press reports. Rich Rhoads said the family worked with a company that finances the system for 20 years and also help clients increase energy efficiency through attic insulation, attic solar fans, water-heater insulation and LED light bulbs, according to the article. Rhoads “also pointed out that the federal government offers a tax credit for homeowners switching to solar energy, to help offset some of the costs.” Rhoads said the family believes helping the environment and potentially saving money in the long term is a “win-win.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, Solar

Ohio EPA virtual public hearing on amended rules for power plant efficiency

On Friday, October 16, 2020, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a virtual public hearing about proposed changes to rules that address power plant efficiency, according to a news release. During the hearing, “the public may submit written comments on the record about the proposed amendments to the rules,” according to the release. The proposed new rules “are being developed to comply with U.S. EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule,” which mandates “the development of enforceable performance standards based on the application of technologies and methods” determined to be the Best System of Emission Reduction (BSER) for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Citizens who want to participate in the meeting must register in advance. For more, read the full release.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

Planned OSU $278M heat and power plant gets approval

The Ohio Power Siting Board approved the Ohio State University (OSU)’s application to construct its planned $278 million combined heat and power plant on campus, Columbus Business First reports. OSU spokesperson Dan Hedman said university officials will “work to finalize a project timeline” for the plant, which “will provide ‘energy-efficient electricity, heating and cooling’ for the whole campus” while cutting carbon emissions by more than 30%, according to the article. The Columbus Dispatch reports OSU has “said the facility is the ‘cornerstone’ of its energy plan and private energy partnership, and is needed to support its new inpatient hospital and buildings that will make up Ohio State’s West Campus innovation district.” For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Columbus Dispatch articles. 

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

New PACE agreements approve $14M in financing for St. Clair Inn, Hotel Harrington

The St. Clair County Board recently approved new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) agreements for more than $3.1 million and $11 million for the St. Clair Inn and Hotel Harrington projects, respectively, the Times Herald reports. Plans for the Harrington include ceiling insulation, LED lighting, solar features, and high-efficiency heating and cooling, while the St. Clair Inn property’s plan includes “$2.9 million in heating and cooling system improvements, as well as $2.7 million in electrical and $2.2 million in plumbing,” according to the article. The county adopted its PACE program three years ago, allowing developers to repay private loans over time through an assessment against the property.

 

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Canton establishes ESID, approves tax exemption for Hall of Fame Village Hotel II project

Canton City Council has approved a tax-exemption deal that will allow the owners of Hall of Fame Village Doubletree Canton “to make service payments rather than pay real estate taxes” on the taxable value of physical improvements to the hotel, CantonRep.com reports. To “lay ground work for the tax-exemption ordinance,” city officials established a Canton Regional Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) as “part of the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) legislation,” according to the article. Property owners within the ESID are able to finance energy efficiency improvements through assessments against the property. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Columbus ESID closes over $100 million in funding

On July 17, 2020, the Columbus Regional Special Improvement District (ESID)'s PACE financing program, administered by the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority, announced that they have now closed over $100 million in funding for local energy-related projects. Since 2015, the Columbus Regional ESID has provided a 32 percent average utility bill reduction and annual energy savings of $1.4 million in Franklin County. Congratulations to the ESID and Finance Authority teams, and a special congratulations to Jeremy Druhot for his hard work in making our local PACE financing program a nationally recognized success. For more, read the full press release.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

NOPEC grants fund Painesville Township energy efficiency improvements

Energy improvements including new air conditioners, furnaces, ceiling insulation and LED lighting in Painesville Township administrative and departmental buildings might not have been possible without Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) grants, Township Administrator Michael Manary said in a recent News-Herald article. The township has received NOPEC grants, which “can be used strictly for energy improvements,” in 2018, 2019, and 2020, according to the article. Manary noted that two of Painesville’s three fire station were built in the 1960s and “have not had any significant investments in energy improvements” before the grant-funded projects; as a result of the improvements, utility bills have been decreasing over the past few years. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

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,” energynews.us 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
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