Ohio Caverns first in U.S. to produce solar energy on site

When Ohio Caverns opened to the public in 1897, “visitors walked through with lanterns and candles”; now, the tourist attraction is “the first cave in the United States to have solar energy produced on site,” the Urbana Daily Citizen reports. Ohio Caverns installed a solar field that produces “44,000 watts at any given time when the sun is at its peak,” making it “energy neutral,” according to the article. Owner Eric Evans said the cave and facilities were completely retrofitted with LED lighting, which lowered energy consumption to the point “that solar became very viable.” Evans said, “we’ve been stewards of the environment since the cave first opened. . . . That’s where we see the future and longevity of the cavern is protecting and preserving the environment, and this was by far the cleanest form of energy known.” For more, read the full article

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Renewable Energy

Ohio ranks 3rd in region for clean energy employment

More than 3,700 workers in the Mahoning Valley and 108,000 workers statewide are employed in the clean energy industry, a report from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Enterprises finds, according to a recent article in The Business Journal. Those numbers placed the state third “in the 12-state region highlighted in the ‘Clean Jobs Midwest’ report.” Energy efficiency is the “top clean energy sector in the state,” employing 79,653; clean vehicles ranked second with “just over 14,000 employed,” according to the article. The study found “employers project 5.5% job growth in 2018.” Environmental Entrepreneurs spokesperson Micaela Preskill said in a release, “[w]ith further investment and smart state policy, clean jobs will continue [to] power Ohio’s economy into the next decade.” For more, read the full article, including a link to the full report.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

U.S. DOE offers up to $6M in funding for wind R&D

The Wind Energy Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) “aimed at catalyzing technical and operational solutions to reduce environmental compliance costs and environmental impacts” of wind turbines, nawindpower.com reports. The “Advanced Wind R&D to Reduce Costs and Environmental Impacts” FOA will provide up to $6 million in funding, according to the article. The FOA will provide $2 million each to three research areas: reducing costs and environmental impacts of bat curtailment at wind plants, developing “advanced components and other instrumentation for advanced bat-deterrent technologies,” and developing “offshore wind instrumentation for environmental monitoring and mitigation.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates, Project Finance, Renewable Energy

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

Cincinnati named to top 25 most environmentally friendly U.S. cities

Insider included Cincinnati in its top-25 ranking of the most “eco-conscious destinations across the country,” Soapbox Cincinnati reports. Insider consulted sources including Siemens’ Green City Index and WalletHub’s 2017 list of America’s greenest cities that “compares 100 of the largest cities in the US across 22 ‘green’ indicators like median air-quality and number of jobs accessible by public transit.” Insider reports that in 2012, Cincinnati “became the largest US city to offer its residents 100% renewable electricity.” For more, read the full article or click here for the full list of cities.

Environmental, 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

Pennsylvania joins Ohio, other states offering PACE financing

Congratulations to Ohio’s neighboring state Pennsylvania for joining a group of more than 30 states, including Ohio, that authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to help finance energy upgrades. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed legislation establishing the state’s PACE program, which enables funding for energy upgrades to be paid back through property assessments, according to a news release on the governor’s website. The legislation “represents a triple win,” creating new clean energy jobs, saving small businesses money on energy bills, and promoting cleaner air and water by increasing clean energy sources. For more, read the full release

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Renewable Energy

Butler County looking at clean technology for public transportation

Officials in Butler County would like to bring hydrogen fuel cell or battery electric powered buses to the area to make local transportation cleaner and more sustainable, the Journal-News reports. The county needs to partner with a local agency or agencies to “fund the remainder of a vehicle’s price once federal grants are secured” to make that happen, according to the article. A diesel bus can cost $600,000, while a hydrogen fuel-cell bus is twice that at $1.2 million. Fuel cells “are considered safer than gasoline-powered vehicles and are two to three times more efficient,” reducing the amount of carbon emissions by 100 tons per vehicle. Butler County Regional Transit Authority Executive Director Matt Dutkevicz said battery electric or fuel-cell buses would be “a leap forward in local transportation in terms of reducing emissions and increasing sustainability.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental

Athens residents vote for SOPEC carbon fee

A first-of-its-kind proposed 0.2-cent carbon fee for Athens city electrical customers (see our January 26, 2018 blog post) passed with 76.34 percent of the vote in the May election, The Athens News reports. The new carbon fee “will only apply to customers enrolled in the SOPEC [Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council] Opt-Out Electric Aggregation Program,” and will cost the average household using 800-900 kilowatt hours of electricity between $1.60 and $1.80 each month, according to the article. SOPEC Executive Director Eddie Smith said he is “extremely thrilled that we are going to be the first municipality in the entire United States that has figured out the carbon price program.” The carbon fee will help fund a community solar program; SOPEC will work with the Athens City Council and Mayor’s office to plan hearings to determine the rules for that program. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy

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
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