Startup hopes to spur economic growth in Appalachia through recycling battery cells

What happens when one lithium-ion cell in a battery pack goes bad? Even though the battery pack may contain “anywhere from a few to hundreds of lithium-ion cells,” when one of those cells goes bad, “typically the whole battery pack is discarded,” says Roger Wilkins, executive director of the startup Re-POWER Second Life Battery Network of the Athens Energy Institute, The Highland County Press reports. The organization has a plan to recycle lithium-ion battery cells for reuse in other applications; testing and repackaging of the still-good battery cells from electric vehicles and other electronic devices “would take place at a central facility in Appalachia” and then be distributed as a subscription service, according to the article. If the project succeeds, it “could promote job growth in the clean energy sector while supporting a network of local businesses.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Environmental, State Updates

New Franklin County solar farm will supply energy to AEP

American Electric Power affiliate AEP Energy Partners “is finalizing a long-term power purchase agreement [PPA] with New York-based BQ Energy Development LLC for 100% of the 50 megawatts of power that will be generated at the new solar farm it is building at the former Model Landfill site,” Columbus Business First reports. The solar farm will generate enough energy to power 5,000 homes, which AEP Energy will use to meet “both customer demand for renewable energy and future renewable energy needs” from Columbus’s recently passed citywide electric aggregation program proposal, according to the article. Greg Hall, president of AEP Energy, called converting the former landfill to a solar facility a “win-win for the environment and Central Ohio.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, 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

Car manufacturers broadening EV lineups to include more SUVs, trucks

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing not only in market segment, but in the size and variety of models manufacturers are gearing up to produce, the Business Journal Daily reports. Automakers are preparing to “begin offering full-size SUVs and pickup trucks” as part of their EV lineups, according to the article. The Endurance pickup from Lordstown Motors Corp. “is expected to hit the market next year,” with 40,000 already on pre-order. Tesla reported it has 650,000 preorders for its Cybertruck, and Ford Motor Co. “will be rolling out electric versions of its venerable F-150 and Mustang lines, the latter of which will be as an all-new SUV version.” General Motors (GM) is reviving its Hummer nameplate as an electric-powered GMC truck. GM announced “a five-year, $20 billion commitment to its electric lineup,” including the $2.3 billion Lordstown plant that will produce batteries for all its electric vehicles “as well as a Honda model.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Federal Updates

Dayton area expected to add more EV charging stations with EPA funding

Electric vehicle drivers in the Dayton area may soon have more places to “fill up” thanks to an effort led by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), the Dayton Daily News reports. “Eighteen new sites in 11 communities could be added to the dozens of publicly accessible Level 2 charging stations” if the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards funds to the MVRPC proposal, according to the article. The state agency will disburse $3.25 million from a settlement with Volkswagen over Clean Air Act violations (see our July 27, 2020 blog post). MVRPC Executive Director Brian Martin said, “[v]isible, publicly accessible EV charging serves to encourage consumers to consider plug-in vehicles” by making charging more convenient. For more, read the full article

Environmental, State Updates

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

Columbus residents to vote on community choice aggregation in November

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city, community and energy leaders recently announced “the selection of a preferred electricity supplier, kicking off the community choice aggregation initiative” that will be on the November 3 ballot, Columbus Messenger reports. The program is part of the city’s goal “for 100 percent clean energy by 2022 and to be carbon neutral by 2050,” according to the article. AEP Energy was selected through a public, competitive bidding process “due to their ability to meet the goal of clean, renewable energy from local renewable resources.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus develops UTC to simplify EV adoption for fleets

One of the goals of Smart Columbus is to “introduce 300 EVs [electric vehicles] into public fleets by 2020,” and the City of Columbus has created a Universal Term Contract (UTC) to facilitate the EV adoption process for public entities, according to a recent Smart Columbus Playbook. The city created “a request for proposal (RFP) that allowed bidders to offer innovative financial arrangements in their proposals,” according to Smart Columbus. Columbus then developed an innovative program that allowed the city to “lease vehicles for a short period followed by a title transfer to the city, attain vehicle pricing at triple-net dealer invoice, and capture a portion of the federal EV tax credit.” The program, a UTC for vehicle procurement, can be used by any local public entity in the state. For more, read the Smart Columbus Playbook.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, State Updates

NOPEC $35,000 grant will fund Lakewood’s fifth EV charger

Lakewood Mayor Meghan George recently announced a $35,000 Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) grant to support electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure will finance the city’s fifth EV charging station, Cleveland.com reports. NOPEC “offered the grant in gratitude for advice and support provided by the city regarding its own EV charging program initiative,” the mayor said, according to the article. The city has installed two EV chargers, with a third expected to be operational soon, and a fourth earmarked for next year. George called the charging stations “an important infrastructure need” as Lakewood encourages the use of electric vehicles. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Project Finance, State Updates
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