AMP-OH Contract & CPP's Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard

Submitted by Stefanie Spear on Sun, 01/20/2008 - 22:29.

On Wednesday, January 16, I testified at the Cleveland City Council Public Utilities Committee's PURPA Hearing. More than 16 people testified asking Cleveland City Council Public Utilities Committee to cancel, or at the very least, delay their vote on whether or not to allow Cleveland Public Power (CPP) to sign a 50 year contract to buy power from the American Municipal Power of Ohio's (AMP-OH) proposed 1,000-megawatt conventional pulverized coal powered plant to be located in Letart Falls in Meigs County Ohio. The deadline for Council to decide is March 1, 2008. The next time for the public to comment in front of Council is set for Friday, February 22. The Jan. 16 meeting started at 1:30 p.m. and ended at 6:30 p.m. A much longer meeting then anyone expected. The entire meeting was extremely interesting and I learned a lot. It is important to note that though the AMP-OH issue was at the forefront of everyones mind, the just as important issue concerning CPP's Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard was discussed at length.

Council members of the Cleveland City Council Public Utilities Committee (Matt Zone, Zachary Reed, Phyllis Cleveland, Brian Cummins, Martin Keane, Kevin Kelley, Michael Polensek, Joe Santiago and Jay Westbrook), the Acting Director of the Department of Public Utilities Barry Withers, CPP Commissioner Ivan Henderson, Program Director for the Sustainability Program at the Department of Public Utilities Andrew Watterson, Energy Manger for the Sustainability Program at the Department of Public Utilities Bill Eger and everyone else who was in attendance at the meeting were invited to participate in the upcoming Midtown Brews event February 7 at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m to take place at Insivia Technologies, 1900 Superior Avenue, Suite 105 in Cleveland. For more information concerning this event, see the attached flyer or check out the gcbl calendar page.

midtownflyer.pdf37.46 KB
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Tower Press Building

  -Thank you for watching the Earth, Stephanie--I will make it if I don't have to work that night. 

At issue?:  American Municipal Power of Ohio's (AMP-OH) proposed 1,000-megawatt conventional pulverized coal powered plant to be located in Letart Falls in Meigs County Ohio. 

Would it be possible to see the transcript of your testimony here? 

I am curious--if the objection is over coal, what alternatives were promoted?  Nuclear, solar, wind?

The next meet-up to discuss this will be Thursday, February 7th 5:30-7:30 at Insivia offices in the Tower Press Building

The attached flyer mentions David Perkowski's Hyacinth Lofts, but I think that the address refers to the Tower Press Building. 

This slight confusion led me to this site based in Germany, billed as the leader in global building data--EMPORIS

Frank Gerlak is listed as the local contact--Susan, we need to get the Breuer listed--

This construction industry site indexes buildings, mostly larger commercial and industrial--I have seen some similar sites.  Smart. 

I am wracking my brain for the comparable sites--proprietary and non-proprietary.  Can any one help me here?

the tower is on Emporis
I wrote to Frank Gerlak about how the listing may have changed and might change now that it has been sold. I'll keep you posted.


Who put this up on Emporis, and when. 
Was this on the Emporis site before the bids were opened?
Does Emporis cull the local newspapers and then post these "for sale items" themselves?

What does Google Cache tell us?

Below is the testimony I

Below is the testimony I provided at the Jan. 16 Cleveland City Council Public Utilities Committee's PURPA Hearing.  I am currently working on finding models of what other municipal power companies throughout our nation and even world are doing to rapidly implement renewable energy in their Portfolio Standards.  If anyone has any suggestions toward that end, please let me know.

January 16, 2008

Public Utilities Committee

Dear Public Utilities Committee,

Thank you for holding this hearing today.  I appreciate your time and consideration on what I consider one of the most important issues and decisions impacting our city and state.

I am Stefanie Spear, founder and executive director of EarthWatch Ohio.  I am here today as an environmentalist, concerned citizen and CPP customer.  My husband and I are property and business owners in Councilman’s Polensek’s Ward.

I am extremely concerned with CPP’s pending contract to purchase energy for 50 years from the proposed AMP-OH, 1,000-megawatt conventional pulverized coal powered plant.

I believe that everyone in this room today wants the same thing for CPP.  We all want CPP to be able to provide
electricity at a competitive or reduced rate with energy that is generated in the most economical and environmentally-friendly way.  I believe the role of CPP is critical in building a sustainable Northeast Ohio region.

I encourage council to reconsider their vote and cancel, or at the very least, postpone the contract with AMP-OH.

I have concerns about the pending contract for the following reasons:

1.  The proposed AMP-OH plant, according to its own permit application dated August 9, 2007, would emit 7.3 million tons of carbon annually.  Carbon-constraining legislation, either through a carbon tax or nationwide cap, is inevitable in the coming years.  Even though AMP-OH says it intends to use Powerspan, there is no mention of this technology in AMP’s permit application or Ohio EPA’s draft permit.  I also question whether the implementation of Powerspan’s ECO2 is a viable option or the best technology choice.

2.  Coal is not “cheap.”  When you factor in the true costs of coal including the impact coal extraction has on the environment, the impact the emissions from coal plants has on human health, the impact on communities from where coal powered plants are located, the impact on the environment and surrounding communities from unreclaimed mine sites, and the anticipated national green house gas (GHG) legislation, it becomes very clear that coal is not cheap.

The mining of coal poses substantial safety risks to miners, destroys natural habitats, pollutes rivers and streams, and releases substantial amounts of methane, which contributes to global warming. One especially destructive form of mining is mountaintop removal, which involves blowing off the tops of mountains and dumping the resulting waste in adjacent river valleys.

The proposed site for the coal plant is in Letart Falls, in Meigs County which is an area in southeast Ohio that already has a high concentration of coal-fired power plants and other major polluting sources.  There are four coal-fired power plants within approximately 10 miles of Letart Falls, and there are numerous other major sources of air pollution in or near Meigs County.  If you look at the map on the back of my testimony, you can see the high concentration of coal-fired power plants around the proposed AMP-OH GS plant.  In 2004, the Gavin plant, a bit to the west of the proposed AMP-OH site, ranked in the top 50 nationwide coal-fired power plants for sulfur dioxide emissions and in 2002 the Kyger plant, just south of the Gavin plant, was in the top 50 for mercury emissions.  Of the 18 coal-fired power plants along the Ohio River, seven are among the nation’s 50 dirtiest for sulfur dioxide or mercuy emissions.  The residents of Letart Falls and Meigs County should not be subjected to another major source of air pollution.

3.  The investment in new coal plants -- gasification or conventional -- is draining the financial resources and investments in the renewable energy industry.

4.  Proposed gasification and conventional coal plants are dying on the drawing board. Over the past two years, 15 coal plants in Florida and 10 coal plants in Texas have been cancelled.  The chances that the AMP-OH plant will ever be built, diminishes with every passing day.

5.  The cost of the proposed AMP-OH plant continues to increase - Two years ago AMP-OH stated this plant would cost municipalities across Ohio $1.2 billion, then the figure was $1.5 billion, then it jumped to $2.5 billion and now stands at $2.9 billion.  And, there has been a lot of opposition to this plant and it is very likely that permitting of this plant will get tied up in lawsuits from environmental groups which would significantly delay the building of this coal plant and add to its price tag.

I support the following alternatives to the AMP-OH plant:
Since most of the electricity supplied by CPP to its customers is generated by other entities, CPP is essentially a distribution utility, operating and maintaining a set of distribution infrastructures and managing its 80,000 customer accounts.  Most of the power currently purchased by CPP is fueled by coal, and most of this generation capacity is physically located outside of the immediate Cleveland area and supplied to CPP via the MISO (Midwest Independent System Operator) grid.

I support a shift in the current structure of CPP that echos the vision promoted by CPP which is to improve and grow the system through “Green Power” as well as other eco-friendly methods.  I am in favor of CPP implementing an advanced energy portfolio standard that will mandate increasing portions of CPP’s energy supply to come from qualifying sources with lower emissions impact.  This portfolio is an important part of the solution to the financial, economic and environmental problems facing our region.  I believe that our region, with the leadership of CPP, can become the national and even global hub of technology & business expertise in renewable energy.

I support an advanced energy portfolio that includes:
1.  Energy Efficiency - CPP should help its customers minimize their expenditure on electricity.  Customers should be educated on how they can change their behaviors to reduce unnecessary electricity consumption.  CPP should consider Smart Metering as a means to lower base-load needs.  Energy efficiency programs are the most important tool available in responding to carbon emissions and the fastest way to slow the growth of coal dependency.
2.  Development of Wind Power - The U.S. Department of Energy’s newly approved wind maps of Ohio reveal that by harnessing only a portion of our state’s wind resources, Ohio can generate at least 10-20 percent of our electricity.  Ohio has the infrastructure to be a leading manufacturer of renewable energy technologies.  Investing in the development of Ohio’s own homegrown wind energy would create manufacturing jobs, grow local businesses and attract new businesses to the state.

3.  Development of Solar Power - With strong state and local government incentives to help drive implementation of solar technologies and changes in pubic policy, solar power can play an important role in CPP’s energy portfolio.

4.  Geothermal Energy - Underground steam is another natural form of green energy.  Considering the size of our country, Geothermal energy is an enormous underused heat and power resource.

5.  Development of Combined Heat & Power (CHP) technologies.  CHP uses waste heat from factories and other industrial facilities to generate power.  This technology can help CPP reach its energy producing needs.

6.  Hydropower Projects - CPP should continue its current hydropower contracts and look for other existing hydropower projects to tap into.

7.  I support coal strictly as a transitional fuel.  I do not support CPP signing any long-term contracts that includes coal.  I also do not support any investment in the building of a coal plant of any kind.  All financial investments should be dedicated to creating a renewable energy future.  I encourage efficiency and conservation programs that will help reduce CPP’s base-load needs which will further reduce its dependency on coal.

I encourage council to do the following:

1. Hire an independent consultanting firm to create an economic feasibility study and an Advanced Energy Portfolio for CPP.
2. Continue to hold public hearings and encourage input from all stakeholders before voting or approving any energy policies.
3. Please reconsider this AMP-OH, 50-year contract.  I encourage council to cancel, or at the very least, delay this contract with AMP-OH.

I understand that as members of City Council you have to prioritize your work load due to the many challenges impacting our community.  With the fast approaching February 28 AMP-OH deadline, I encourage you to put energy policies and the future of CPP on top of your list.

Now is the time for serious dialogue and leadership to develop solutions to ensure an ongoing, reasonably priced, green and reliable energy supply.  I encourage CPP and Cleveland City Council to be leaders in the renewable energy industry.  Through innovation in energy and environmental policies, programs and technologies, we can enhance economic development, protect the environment and secure a sustainable future for Northeast Ohio.

Thank you for listening.

Stefanie Spear
spear [at] earthwatchohio [dot] org

The World is Watching

(Specifically--Germany) Thank you Stephanie for speaking up! 

Renewable energy portfolio for utilities

Great effort, great testimony, Stef !

I'll see if I can dig up some material on renewable energy portoflios espoused by cutting edge utilities organizations.  I really like your proposal of a diverse yet integrated set of renewable technologies.  The diversification of such a portfolio mitigates risk by sharing it across green sectors - wind, solar, fuel cell, geothermal, and biofuels are all growing more attractive and feasible in short order. Traditional fossil fuels can never be truly green, and clean coal is an ugly oxymoron and ploy by the fossil fuel lobby to retain power, presence, and influence with utilities companies as primary power source.

It is undeniable that coal means jobs but are these quality, healthy employment options?  Could we not institute training programs to transition fossil fuel workers to newer, greener, and healthier energy positions?  I believe a phased program is very possible, but it must be implemented soon, lest quality of life outcomes be diminished for all planetary stakeholders.

Western Europe, particularly Scandinavia - is a key region in this regard. Germany is a good benchmark as well, as Laura indicated, since they share very similar climates with NEO.   I think very important data could be gleaned from several individuals and organizations: ranging from corporate giants like BP and Shell to pioneering green technology leaders like Juwi International and United Solar for wind and solar, respectively.  I believe Green Energy Ohio (GEO) would be a potential partner could offer some assistance from the Nonprofit sector, perhaps with insight from others that have been working with groups intimately aware of model green energy portfolios.

I'd also check out Sweden's The Natural Step, The Wuppertal Institute, and similar European research networks, if possible. I met with both groups while in Sweden and Germany, respectively, a few years ago.  Maybe we can work together on some of this research - it looks like it would be very interesting!



Thanks Susan--ask him to list it under Famous Buildings 


I urge the Cleveland City Council to withdraw their ill-considered  support for the proposed 50 year power contract which will allow AMP-Ohio to build a new coal fired 1000 mega watt generator in Meigs County, Ohio.

Off all the decisions the Council has made or ever will make, this decision to support coal for another half century is probably their most serious and damaging to the City of Cleveland and to the environment.

But on a very practical level, one needs to ask – why such a long term contract?  What other 50 year contracts has the City ever entered? 

I can suggest one reason that Amp and the coal lobby demands a 50 year commitment – because they can see the writing on the wall that coal is a loser – if the coal lobby doesn’t nail down long term income now, they will only face a more difficult sell later. 

Cleveland: Caveat emptor!

BINGO - Advanced Energy Portfolio Model - PG&E

I thought I had seen an exemplar for alternative energy portfolio diversification recently - one particular system of note appears in the Jan / Feb 2007 issue of Business 2.0.  The periodical featured nine companies who best epitomize a 'green business' philosophy in this issue entitled 'Go Green, Get Rich : Saving the Planet Has Suddenly Become Good Business'.   Within a subsection of this enique enviro-issue is one particular article: "8 Technologies for a Green Future".  In addition to detailing a home hydrogen fueling station, speccing out a nuclear waste neutralizer, and showcasing a sonic water purifier (amongst other socially conscious technology ventures) the article concludes with numero ocho: 'The Interactive Renewable Smart Power Grid'.

The celebrity utility? Where else but California, and who else but Pacific Gas and Electric - developing an 'electricity grid of the future which more resembles 'the internet - distributed, interactive and open source - than the dumb, one way network of today that pushes dinosaur molecules from a carbon-spewing power plant to your home'.

PG&E's director of renewable-energy policy and planning (whew) - Hal LaFlash outlines the specific strategy which includes: Solar Stations, Solar Buildings, Wind Power, Wave Power, and yes: even Cow Power (poo to methane to electric is already in use by a dozen of the more than 2000 state dairies, who in total sequester over 1.7 million cows.)  Other interesting plans include the integration of plug-in hybrid vehicles capable of feeding back electricity to a 'Smart Grid'.

It seems even the most enterprising systems cannot escape 'Clean Coal' clutches.  California seems to push off the dirty work to none other than NEO in making a point that these coal gassification plants will be 'located mainly in the East and Midwest'.  Though I am very disappointed with this 'green' approach, it appears unstoppable today -  if these facilities can effectively capture enough CO2 before it hits the ecosphere anything is better than the ancient standby - direct pollution. 

LaFlash and PG&E weave this all together with intelligent and interactive power grids that will be capable of rationing and distributing power selectively to household appliances as it communicates with them.  Laflash and Co also demonstrate the value of socially conscious public-private partnerships - theyhave a local/powerhouse R&D partner in Google at their side throughout.

Fascinating stuff, and any CPP study might want to be sure to consider these folks when crafting their own portfolio for advanced energy.

Hope this helps Stefanie - keep us posted - the upcoming Insivia Midtown Brews sounds interesting and you'll likely see me there !