The City of Shelby approves new 2.5 MW solar system

On August 5, 2019, the City of Shelby passed legislation to construct a solar energy project that was more than two years in the making. Shelby entered into a series of agreements with AEP OnSite Partners, LLC for a 2.5 MW solar array which will be located on 14 acres of property. The power produced by the solar facility will serve 3 percent to 4 percent of the City’s overall load. The solar facility will also help the City shave energy during peak periods. John Ensman, the City's director of utilities, highlighted the benefits of adding solar generation to the City’s electric system. "The benefits of having solar behind our meter is the effect of having a generator behind the meter," Ensman said. "It's another source of energy sitting there to help reduce the cost of energy for the community of Shelby. The realized rate is phenomenal when you start factoring in the savings you have for capacity and transmission; that's where the true cost savings come into play." It is estimated that solar facility will result in approximately $3 million in savings over the next 10 years as part of the project agreement. If all goes to plan, the solar field will be operational by mid-December 2019. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, 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

Land found for 150-MW Putnam County solar farm

Avangrid Renewables, the developer for a proposed solar farm near Miller City that would “bring in $1.3 million in additional property tax revenue,” said the company has found land for the project, The Lima News reports. Putnam County Commissioners recently met with Jeff Reinkemeyer, Eastern Renewables Development director for Avangrid, and Dylan Borchers of Bricker & Eckler LLP, attorney representing Avangrid, for an update on the project. Borchers said, “[t]he tax revenue that the solar farm will bring into the county will benefit the various taxing bodies,” with about half of the taxing income going to the schools, according to the article. Borchers “said a road use plan needs to be put together” and an application to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) submitted; the OPSB “is the agency that will need to approve the project.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Senate bill proposes federal standard for U.S. renewable electricity generation

The recently introduced Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Act of 2019 would put the United States “on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050,” nawindpower.com reports. The Senate bill “is proposing a target of at least 50% renewable electricity nationwide” by 2035, by requiring electricity providers to increase their supply of renewable energy “by a percentage of total retail sales each year, starting in 2020,” according to the article. Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said the RES would “drive investment in our nation’s power generation infrastructure, improve affordability and reliability for our customers, and accelerate the ongoing transition to America’s renewable energy economy.” For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Renewable Energy

New dates set for Seneca Wind Farm hearings

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has rescheduled the local public hearing for Seneca Wind LLC’s Seneca Wind Farm (see our April 24, 2019 blog post) for July 23, 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Tiffin University, The Advertiser-Tribune reports. The hearing “is to provide an opportunity for local people interested in the project area, who are not parties to the case, to provide testimony regarding the proposed facility,” according to the article. An adjudicatory hearing, at which Seneca Wind, OPSB staff and parties to the case may present evidence regarding the project, will take place August 26 at 10:00 a.m. at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Columbus. If approved, the wind farm “would be constructed on about 57,000 acres of leased private land in Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom townships,” with up to 77 turbines and a total generating capacity of up to 212 megawatts. For more, read the full article

Renewable Energy, 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

Work begins on $300M Scioto Ridge wind farm

Innogy, a German renewable energy company, has officially started work on a 250-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Hardin and Logan counties, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The $300-million Scioto Ridge wind farm “is expected to become operational before the end of 2020,” according to the article. With 75 wind turbines, the wind farm “will generate enough electricity for about 60,000 homes,” and will create approximately 150 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, 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

Coal “no longer dominant source” of electricity in Ohio

As coal competes with cheap, abundant natural gas for power generation in Ohio, it has “gone from powering 87 percent of the state’s homes, stores, offices and factories to 47 percent” in “just a dozen years,” according to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch. Natural gas “generated 34 percent of the state’s power last year,” an increase of 10 percentage points in one year, the article reports. Columbus-based American Electric Power, one of the largest power companies in the United States, “has slashed its carbon dioxide emissions 59 percent since 2000 with a goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050 as the company moves away from coal to natural gas and renewable sources such as wind and solar.” Natural gas has surpassed coal nationally as the top source of power, at 35.1 percent compared to coal’s 27.4 percent. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

First quarter of 2019 propels U.S. wind power construction to record level

U.S. project developers announced new wind farms with a total capacity of 6,146 megawatts (MW) in the first quarter of 2019, propelling “the total volume of U.S. wind power construction and development activity to a record level,” nawindpower.com reports. The article cites American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)’s newly released “U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2019 Market Report,” which shows this additional capacity brings the United States to “a new record of 39,161 MW” in development. Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said, “America’s largest source of renewable energy generating capacity is on a path to grow by 40 percent in the near term. In doing so, we’ll create thousands of additional American jobs and new economic opportunities for factory towns and rural communities across the country.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Federal Updates, Renewable Energy
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