News and Analysis
In an abrupt about-face from long-standing support for deregulated generation, FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones now is calling for the state to re-regulate generation.
Why? “I am trying to save the company,” the Plain Dealer quotes Jones.
FirstEnergy is attempting to obtain massive subsidies from customers for two of its largest power plants for 15 years in a case pending before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). The OMA Energy Group has intervened in the case to oppose the FirstEnergy subsidies.
It seems likely now that, if it fails at the PUCO, the company might seek a form of a bailout from the General Assembly.
OMA, OMA Connections Partner, Scioto Energy, and Findlay-Hancock Economic Development hosted a breakfast forum in Findlay this week to help manufacturers learn about electricity reliability, supply and cost.
Participating manufacturers heard an electricity reliability forecast from Kerry Stroup, Manager – Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, PJM Interconnections LLC, the power grid manager for Ohio and the region. He said that there is adequate electric supply in the state and reliability is under control.
Participants also heard energy management strategies from Susanne Buckley, Managing Partner, Scioto Energy, and Ryan Augsburger, VP & Managing Director, OMA Public Policy Services, (shown), described OMA’s energy services that help OMA members buy and manage energy.
The Energy Mandates Study Committee wrapped up its hearings this week. The committee was charged with studying the costs and benefits of Ohio energy standards and make recommendations before the current freeze in the standards lifts at the end of 2016.
Members of the committee have until September 30 to deliver recommendations to Ohio legislative leaders. Committee leaders have not publicly indicated what recommendations the group might make to the full legislature.
Also in play, and expected to influence the recommendations, are the federal 111(d) Clean Power Plan rules scheduled to be finalized in August. U.S. EPA, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution from existing electricity-generating power plants. The Clean Power Plan requires each state to develop a state-specific plan to achieve carbon reduction targets by 2030. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are tools that states can use to meet the standards, if they withstand legal challenges.
A new study sponsored by the COMPETE Coalition, “Evolution of the Revolution: The Sustained Success of Retail Electricity Competition,” finds that states with retail electric competition are outperforming traditional monopoly states in both price and generation trends.
The study looked at nearly two decades of empirical data to determine that choice consumers benefit in terms of improved price, investment, and reliability.
Key findings include:
- From 1997 through 2014, prices in customer choice jurisdictions increased 4.5% less than inflation while prices in monopoly states increased 8.4% more than inflation.
- Electricity in monopoly states accounted for a larger share of the consumer cost of living in 2014 than in 1997, while electricity’s share of the consumer pocketbook in customer choice jurisdictions was less in 2014 than in 1997.
- Generation in customer choice jurisdictions as a group outperformed that in monopoly states producing billions of dollars of new, more efficient generation with higher capacity factors than in monopoly states.
Here is the news release COMPETE Coalition put out this week.
DP&L offers incentives of $0.08/kWh generated and $100/kW of capacity for qualifying combined heat and power (CHP) projects. CHP efficiently produces electricity on-site while using the waste-heat from the generator to produce hot-water or steam. Manufacturers with a year-round hot-water or steam load that operate 3-shifts are the most likely candidates for CHP.
DP&L’s CHP incentives are capped at 50% of total cost, or $500,000, for systems 500 kW and smaller. Terms for larger systems are negotiable.
Unsure if your operation is a good candidate for CHP? The OMA has teamed with DP&L to offer a screening assessment at no cost to you. Complete this short survey to receive your free assessment. If the screening assessment looks good, DP&L will cost share up to $10,000 for a CHP feasibility study. Contact OMA’s consulting energy engineer John Seryak for more information.
The Ohio Development Services Agency will open a new round of funding for the Energy Loan Fund this week. The fund provides low-cost financing for energy efficiency and advanced energy projects to Ohio manufacturers and other entities. A total of $11.25 million in funding is available for fiscal year 2016.
All applicants must submit a letter of intent in order to formally apply. Letters of intent will be accepted between July 15 and August 12, 2015 for this round of funding. Loan amounts range from $250,000 to $1,250,000. Applicants must attend the bidder’s conference on August 26, 2015. Once an applicant has submitted a letter of intent, they will receive instruction on how to complete a formal application.
The topic of the meeting is combustion burner efficiency and controls. You’ll hear from OMA member Belden Brick about efficiency projects in its combustion burner system, receive energy efficiency tips from experts at Go Sustainable Energy, and we’ve invited a combustion process control expert from ABB.
The availability, reliability and affordability of electricity – now and into the future – are concerns for all Ohio manufacturers.
The OMA has partnered with Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development to bring an interesting and useful conversation about electricity reliability to manufacturers in Hancock County and surrounding areas.
Our keynote speaker is Kerry Stroup, Manager – Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, with PJM Interconnection, the electric grid manager for Ohio and the region.
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP, reports that a recent case filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Mark A. Whitt v. Nationwide Energy Partners, LLC, is asking that submetering companies be regulated as a public utility or as an energy marketer. If the action is successful, its consequences could extend beyond the issue of submetering to possibly include the regulation of certain onsite distributed generation facilities.
Read more from Bricker here.
Senate President Keith Faber (R – Celina) has been trying to broker a severance tax increase within the pending state operating budget, HB 64. He announced this week that it is not going to happen.
Instead, the House and Senate will create a “Legislative Task Force on Severance Tax Policy.” It will be co-chaired by the Ways and Means Committee chairmen from both chambers – Senator Bob Peterson (R – Sabina) and Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky). The task force will include both Democrats and Republicans from each chamber, as well as representatives of the oil and gas industry, which opposes tax increases. It has an October 1 deadline for reporting.
The task force will exist within the 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, proposed by Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R – Clarksville) to take a more thoughtful, longer range study of Ohio’s system of taxation.