Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants new tools to municipalities

Local governments have “new statutory tools to affordably confront the expensive infrastructure challenges of stormwater, wastewater and other water resource improvement goals,” since the President signed the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA), McMahon DeGulis LLP reports. The WIIA adds a new section to the Clean Water Act incorporating US EPA’s 2012 Integrated Planning Framework into law. Additionally, it “allows a local government to incorporate its Integrated Plan into NPDES permits,” usually a more flexible route than being subjected to a federal consent decree. The WIIA also requires local affordability to be considered in developing CWA compliance schedules. These changes make Integrated Plans “an essential tool for local governments to manage their Clean Water Act compliance and infrastructure renewal.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates

Laketran becomes member of Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance

Public transit agency Laketran has joined the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, a group “seeking a public policy solution that will allow the Perry Nuclear Power Plant to avoid its decommissioning (see our November 14, 2018 blog post),” The News-Herald reports. Laketran CEO Ben Capelle said, “[e]lectricity is the future energy source for all ground transportation, including buses,” noting that the federal government “is prioritizing electric bus infrastructure to reduce emissions and lower the cost of providing transit service,” according to the article. Fueling buses with nuclear-based power “allows the entire energy pipeline to be emissions-free.” Laketran, the “first transit system in the state to deploy zero-emissions electric vehicles,” plans to electrify its entire Local Route system. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

UC Clermont College now 100% powered by wind energy

A three-year energy agreement with American Electric Power means the University of Cincinnati Clermont College is “now 100 percent wind-powered,” according to an article on the school’s website. The agreement, which began in October 2018, “covers energy provided for UC Clermont College, UC Blue Ash and the university’s satellite sites,” the article reports. The move “will save the equivalent in CO2 emissions of 3,683 homes’ electricity use for one year,” and is projected to save the college approximately $25,000 annually. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

AEP’s planned Highland County solar farms a welcome boost for southern Ohio

Development, business and construction leaders across Appalachia rallied in support at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)’s first public hearing on AEP’s plan to build two solar farms in Highland County, Columbus Business First reports. The 300-megawatt (MW) Highland Solar Farm, if completed, would be the largest in Ohio. AEP says constructing that farm and the 100-MW Willowbrook Solar Farm “would bring $24 million in new state tax revenue and $6.7 million in local tax revenue,” while construction “would support 4,000 jobs, including 113 permanent manufacturing jobs in the solar supply chain,” according to the article. The Columbus Dispatch reports “witnesses from economic-development and environmental groups . . . testified about the need for jobs in a region of the state that has been struggling economically, and the value of moving away from fossil fuels to renewable sources.” For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Columbus Dispatch articles. 

Economic Development, Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

GreenGen to upgrade energy efficiency at three Ohio GSA facilities

An Energy Savings Performance Contract awarded to Green Generation (GreenGen) will help three Ohio General Services Administration (GSA) facilities reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. GreenGen was “awarded a Task Order to design and install energy efficiency upgrades” including interior/exterior LED lighting and RTU and split system equipment replacement at the facilities, according to the article. The $1,059,000 contract “will be financed over a 12-year term,” and will “guarantee minimum first year savings of $83,623 and provide for $1.37 million in energy and cost savings for the US government during the contract term while improving the environment.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

Funding approved for new railyard facility in Hannibal

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announed $20 million in funding for the construction of a new railyard and pipeline facility in the town of Hannibal, Ohio on December 6, according to The Daily Jeff. The rail transloading project is expected to increase the area's energy exports and connectivity to global markets. For more, read the full story.

Economic Development, Environmental

Sirna and Sons solar installation generates 35% of company’s electric usage

Ravenna-based Sirna and Sons Produce has installed 1,331 solar panels on the roof of their Route 88 facility, enough to generate 35% of the electricity needed to power the 115,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, the Record-Courier reports. Tom Sirna, president of the fourth-generation wholesale food distributor, said the 30-percent federal tax credit lowered the payback period of the project from 10 to 12 years to 6 years. Without that, Sirna said, “the company probably wouldn’t have gone solar,” according to the article. The 452.5-kilowatt system “should cut carbon emissions by 650 tons every year,” which not only increases the company’s marketability, but aligns with Sirna’s goals to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Better energy polices could help bring $25B and 20K jobs to Ohio

New energy technologies “could lead to $25 billion” in investment and 20,000 new jobs for Ohio, according to a Powering Ohio report from Synapse Energy Economics and Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Energy Institute, Columbus Business First reports. The report says “[t]he changing transportation industry could bring major jobs and investment to Ohio if the state has an energy policy in place to promote it,” according to the article. Recommendations include “nine points of policy improvement, including growing electric vehicles and clean energy workforce and attracting more manufacturing, enhancing the grid and smart transportation infrastructure.” The Smart Columbus program “has been a major leg up for this,” but a larger statewide strategy for energy policy “remains a key sticking point.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Environmental, Smart Cities, State Updates

Community leaders form Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance to save Ohio’s nuclear plants

A “broad-based coalition of community leaders and organizations” have joined to form the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, a group “seeking a public policy solution” that will allow the state’s two nuclear energy plants to remain in operation, The News-Herald reports. The coalition “will engage legislators, policymakers and the public to highlight the employment, economic, environmental and grid reliability benefits” provided by the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear plants, the article reports. Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino said the plants contribute “over $500 million annually to the state’s economy — over 4,000 jobs are at stake.” Members of the alliance include the Perry Economic Development Council, members of the North Perry Village Council and the Mentor Council, the superintendent of Perry Local Schools and other community leaders. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

SARTA offers free loan of fuel-cell bus to any transit authority in the U.

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) and the manufacturers of its fuel-cell buses have launched a national promotion “to persuade other transit authorities to switch to hydrogen fuel cells,” Cleveland.com reports. SARTA “is offering to loan” one of its 13 fuel-cell buses free of charge “to any transit authority in the nation interested in seeing first-hand how the now commercially available technology works,” according to the article. Kirt Conrad, SARTA’s CEO, said, “[g]iving the people across the country the opportunity to see, learn about, and ride on a hydrogen-fuel cell bus is the best way to demonstrate this technology’s potential to totally transform the way vehicles are powered here and around the world.” SARTA’s fuel cell buses have electric motors powered by on-board fuel cells that use oxygen from the air and stored hydrogen to generate power, emitting only water. For more, read the full article

Environmental, Renewable Energy
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