News and Analysis
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chief of Staff Jason Rafeld told the OMA Energy Committee this week that settlement discussions between the PUCO staff and both AEP and FirstEnergy have resulted in a potential structure for settlements in the utilities’ Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) cases. To say the least, this is a new development of significant import to Ohio manufacturers.
The PPA cases propose that the monopoly distribution utilities would lock in long-term contracts for power from certain plants owned by their unregulated subsidiaries, not competitive sourcing, thus shifting the financial risks of operating the plants to the utilities’ customers.
Rafeld was unable to discuss specifics of the structure, as they are confidential under PUCO rules. Intervenors in the cases, such as the OMA Energy Group (which opposes the costly utility proposals), have been invited to begin meeting with the PUCO staff and the utilities immediately.
In their meeting this week, OMA Energy Committee members heard presentations from Kevin Wade of Honda on a recent CHP conversion project that is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 million pounds a year, and from Iryna Lendel, Ph.D., and Andy Thomas, J.D., of Cleveland State University on a recent, large study on the development opportunities of Ohio’s shale developments.
If you or a colleague are interested in energy issues that affect manufacturing, consider joining the OMA Energy Community at My OMA. Quarterly meetings are held in person in Columbus and are accessible via phone. Members receive all meeting materials whether they register for meetings or not. Here’s the 2016 meeting calendar (click to add to yours): February 25, May 26, August 25, and November 17. Meetings are from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and include a yummy lunch.
This week the House Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve House Bill 176, which makes a variety of changes to Ohio law including subjecting compressed natural gas (CNG) to the motor fuel tax, exempting gross receipts of CNG from the commercial activity tax, and authorizing a nonrefundable income tax or commercial activity tax credit for the purchase of new alternative fuel vehicles.
This clears the way for a potential floor vote by the full House. A similar bill was passed by the House in the 130th General Assembly but ran out of gas in the Senate.
This webinar will help you evaluate and tackle common low-cost/no-cost energy savings opportunities in compressed air systems. Members from Anheuser-Busch, Cooper Tire, and Crown Battery will share compressed-air energy-saving changes they’ve made in their plants. There is also a compressed air system metering kit that EEPN members can borrow to use on their own systems.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined with attorneys general and regulators from 23 other states in filing a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan.” The states filed the suit the same day on which the plan’s final rule was published in the Federal Register.
The states say the U.S. EPA “lacks authority under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to force States to fundamentally restructure their electric grids … (t)he rule is also illegal because it seeks to require States to regulate coal-fired power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act even though the EPA already regulates those same plants under Section 112 of the Act. Double regulation is prohibited by the Clean Air Act.”
The suit is before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which considers all lawsuits under the Clean Air Act.
This week the American Council for Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) issued its annual state scorecard, ranking states for policies that drive energy efficiency utilization. California and Massachusetts rate highest for their state policies which are driven in part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According the ACEEE report, 20 states climbed in their rankings: “Maryland, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Texas deserve recognition for improvement over the past year. Maryland increased its commitment to energy efficiency in 2015 by establishing new, more aggressive energy savings targets for utilities. Illinois is one of the first states to adopt the newest building energy codes, and has increased the amount of energy efficiency available to utilities through procurement agreements with the Illinois Power Agency. Like Illinois, Texas has been aggressive in adopting the latest building energy codes, and has also taken notable actions to ensure code compliance across the state.”
Ohio fell two spots to 27. View the Ohio scorecard.
Earlier this month, Ohio joined forces with West Virginia and Pennsylvania to enter into a cooperative agreement to promote shale gas development in the three-state region. The agreement is intended to prevent the states from competing against each other in the race to attract investment.
Governor Kasich announced that state resources to provide marketing assistance, training and workforce development, as well as infrastructure investment, are all addressed in the agreement.
According to an Associated Press article, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports the three states have had 85% of the increase in U.S. natural gas production since January 2012.
A joint committee of the legislature established to study the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards released its report within the past week.
The committee made five basic recommendations. The implications of these general recommendations for manufacturing are: some costly, some potentially good, and some uncertain.
Read an analysis of the report here.
Leading House Republicans have introduced legislation, HB 349, which would require the Ohio EPA to submit its eventual plan for meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Power Plan to the Ohio General Assembly for approval. Under the bill, each chamber of the legislature would be able to reject the EPA plan and prohibit the agency from submitting it to the U.S. EPA.
The bill lays out a series of matters that the Ohio EPA must consider in constructing its compliance plan, including assuring that its plan is a “least cost compliance approach to benefit consumers of electricity.”
The Senate this week approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 to urge Congress to repeal the federal ban on the export of crude oil, sponsored by Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville). The non-binding resolution received bipartisan support. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider lifting the ban.