Investing in Renewable Energy Projects

 

Renewable Energy Projects in other states

 

Many states are in the process of subsidizing the development of renewable energy projects and Ohio can learn from the successes and failures of these projects. Ohio, nor any other state for that matter, has unlimited financial capabilities to fund any and all projects so resources must be invested wisely.


New Jersey Solar 4 All Program


Goal: Generate 120 megawatts of solar power to communities and customers at a cost of $773 million.

PSE&G proposes four segments to reach this goal including:

  • Neighborhood solar – installing 200,000 solar panels on utility poles
  • Local Government solar – roof-mounted solar on government buildings
  • Centralized Solar – develop solar farms on brown fields, non-profit real estate, underdeveloped real estate and PSE&G properties
  • HMFA Solar – roof mounted solar on affordable housing communities

Source: Press Release from PSE&G on Solar 4 All Program


The City of Lansing Michigan’s Solar Project


Goal: To generate electricity to 50 homes in Lansing, Michigan (does not include heat energy needs).


Lansing, Michigan renewable project

Source: Lansing newspaper articles and project vendors

 

 

The Challenges for Ohio’s Renewable Energy Initiative

Ohio has renewable resource constraints in terms of solar and wind that will result in increasing project costs and lower energy generation potential.



Wind Power in Ohio

Ohio ranks 36th in terms of future wind power potential based on the map below created by the United States Department of Energy. While wind is promising in the central and mountain states it seems to have only limited viability in Ohio and results in higher costs per Mega Watt hour than in other more wind prone states.

USA map Wind Resource

This issue is highlighted by the relative cost and output of the Ohio Green Mountain Wind Farm. The project’s goal is to generate electricity for 1,750 houses per year.

The project details are below:

Intermittent wind estimated at approximately 25%                                          * Intermittent wind estimated at approximately 25%.

Source: Paul G. Brock P.E., Asst Director of Utilities, Bowing Green Ohio

Ohio will have to make substantial initial and ongoing investments in wind power to achieve their renewable energy goal.


Solar Power in Ohio

Solar power generation plants are being built and resources used to incentivize consumers and businesses to install solar. Ohio has limited solar power generation capability based on data supplied from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The following map shows the existing large-scale solar facilities in the U.S.:

large-scale Solar Facilities

Solar power generation will cost approximately $7,000 to $10,000 per kilowatt when installed on a residential home and based on a report from Green Energy Ohio, a 2 kilowatt system will save the homeowner $375 annually. Ohio has a marginal solar base and will need to enhance incentives to generate investment by individuals. Plus, large scale solar projects will be very costly.

While no direct comparison exists for Ohio the chart below provides the EIA projections for renewable energy costs inenerat, a state with a similar Solar Profile. Solar is one of the most costly renewable energy sources in New Jerseys’ Renewable Energy Portfolio.