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News and Analysis

Energy Roundup: OMA Comments on Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing

September 30, 2022
  • The OMA has submitted comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, urging the agency to finalize the five-year program for offshore oil and gas leasing and to include the maximum number of offshore lease sales.
  • The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel is urging the PUCO to revisit its recent order that temporarily halted four House Bill 6-related investigations tied to FirstEnergy.
  • Gasoline prices have risen to around $4 a gallon throughout much of the upper Midwest.
  • On Sept. 27, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pulled the plug on his energy permitting reform bill after it faced opposition from within his own party. (Senators from both parties hope to pass a permitting bill yet this year, reports say.)
  • The Tax Foundation has published this summary of the Inflation Reduction Act’s energy-related tax increases — including a methane fee and reinstated Superfund tax.

Meanwhile, this infographic illustrates China’s current dominance in the solar panel supply chain. 9/29/2022

Energy Roundup: Midwest Hydrogen Coalition Announced

September 23, 2022
  • Ohio and six other Midwestern states have announced a coalition designed to help develop a regional hydrogen market with the goals of creating more jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read more.
  • Energy News Network has published this summary of the latest developments from Ohio’s utility corruption scandal.
  • Energy News Network has also published a story examining Cuyahoga County’s efforts to establish microgrid clusters. The article utilizes information presented at the OMA’s recent energy conference.
  • At the federal level, the National Association of Manufacturers is pushing for permitting reform to be passed by the end of the year, while the release of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting bill is getting more attention.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s five-year offshore leasing program is at risk of not being renewed. The NAM is urging manufacturers to contact their federal representatives. 9/20/2022

FirstEnergy CEO Steven Strah Abruptly Retires

September 16, 2022

FirstEnergy CEO Steven Strah — the company’s public face following the massive bribery scandal tied to House Bill 6 — is abruptly retiring effective Friday, Sept. 16. Strah will “receive no severance payments or severance benefits,” FirstEnergy said. He spent 38 years with the company.

As reported by Cleveland.com, while it’s unclear why Strah decided to step down, the move comes just after a company review of its management team. That review was part of an HB 6-related lawsuit settlement.

A FirstEnergy spokeswoman told The Plain Dealer she didn’t know if Strah’s decision to retire was connected to the management review, but that details of the management review “are not planned to be shared.” Read more. 9/15/2022

Energy Roundup: The Impact of High Natural Gas Prices

September 16, 2022
  • In its new edition of “Manufacturing Insights,” OMA Connections Partner RSM examines the impact of high natural gas prices on manufacturers. This as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts record U.S. natural gas consumption this year.
  • OMA Connections Partner CliftonLarsonAllen has published this summary of the enhanced energy efficiency incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • OMA Connections Partner Schneider Downs has published this summary of the new federal electric vehicle tax credit.
  • The EIA reports that in the first half of this year, 24% of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation came from renewable sources — a 21% jump compared to the same period last year.
  • In the U.S. Senate, nearly the entire Republican caucus — including Ohio’s Rob Portman — has co-sponsored a GOP version of permitting reform legislation.
  • Gasoline prices across the U.S. have been on a steady decline since June — except in California, where the average is approaching $5.50 a gallon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve has dropped to a level not seen in 38 years, Reuters reports. According to the Institute of Energy Research, the reserve is expected to shrink to a 40-year low by the end of October, with an anticipated 358 million barrels compared to 621 million barrels a year ago. 9/15/2022

OMA Hosts Energy Conference

September 9, 2022

Westerville’s Quest Conference Center was the site of the first-ever Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference, held Sept. 8. The in-person event drew more than 200 attendees and covered an array of energy-related topics critical to manufacturers — the state’s largest energy customers.

The OMA’s conference featured nearly 30 presentations from local and national energy experts and key representatives from member manufacturers, including Belden Brick, Campbell’s Soup, Eaton, Honda, Navistar, Plaskolite, PRO-TEC Coating, U.S. Steel, and Whirlpool.

Photos from the event have been posted on the OMA’s social media channels — LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

A special thanks to the sponsors of this timely OMA event. 9/8/2022

The opening keynote session at the Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference focused on the state’s recent energy policy. Speakers included (from left) OMA Energy Committee Chair Brad Belden, president of The Belden Brick Company, Sen. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario), and Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston

Comparing Current Energy Inflation to Past Price Shocks

September 9, 2022

Visual Capitalist reports that the energy price spike of 2022 is the second highest since the price shocks of the 1970s. The website has published this infographic, which illustrates energy (and food) inflation over the past five decades. The site notes that the price of oil influences as much as 64% of food price movements. 9/7/2022

U.S. Sets Daily Record for Gas-fired Electricity Generation

September 2, 2022

U.S. electricity generated by natural gas-fired power plants hit a record 6.37 million megawatt hours on July 21, 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Despite high prices, demand for natural gas to generate electricity remains strong due to reduced coal-fired generation and recently added gas-fired capacity.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference, set for Sept. 8 in Westerville, will provide expert analysis regarding the electric and natural gas markets, Ohio’s natural gas assets, controlling costs with energy efficiency, and much more. You still have time to register. (Here’s the full agenda.) 8/31/2022

Not Too Late to Register for OMA Energy Conference

August 26, 2022

Seeking ways to counter soaring energy costs? Want to explore Ohio’s role in energy production? Need policy updates? The Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference, set for Sept. 8 in Westerville, has it all.

See the agenda by clicking here. Then check out additional details and register via the conference webpage, or call 800-662-4463. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 31, so don’t wait. 8/25/2022

PUCO Pauses HB 6 Investigations

August 26, 2022

State regulators have paused four investigations tied to FirstEnergy’s 2019 lobbying to advance the scandal-plagued House Bill 6. Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair Jenifer French says this is “a temporary stay” and the PUCO will continue with its investigations “when it is appropriate to do so.”

The stay was recently requested by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker who wrote that the PUCO’s cases could directly interfere with or impede the ongoing federal investigation. Here’s more on this development as reported by Gongwer News Service. 8/24/2022

Michigan Suffers Setback in Its Effort to Close Line 5

August 26, 2022

Here’s another twist in the legal battle over the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, initiated by leaders in that state up north. A federal judge has refused to remand the case to a Michigan county court. Fortunately, this is a setback for Michigan’s efforts to shut down the pipeline, reports say.

If Line 5 were shut down, Ohio would bear the brunt of an estimated $20.8 billion in economic losses. The OMA is on record in support of the pipeline remaining operational. 8/25/2022