The Opportunity To Rethink the Energy Question For Cleveland ... the demise of the AMP Ohio coal plant

Submitted by Jon Eckerle on Thu, 11/26/2009 - 19:31.

(See the link below to the story about the cancellation of the AMP Ohio Plant)

The failure of AMP Ohio plant of which Cleveland was a principle partner is an opportunity to rethink the problem of energy in Cleveland. This was plant that was going to provide base line power to Cleveland Public Power (CPP), and AMP Ohio for the next 50 years. Its cancelation is a reason to celebrate and an opportunity to change the system. CPP is going to need to derive base line power from somewhere.  Can we influence our community to create a sustainable energy strategy that will not only meet our  present power needs, but provide an economic edge in the future. If we are going to have that edge  we need to maximize the assets we have right now. CPP is one of those assets.Let us transform the question then we can transform the answer.  The question should not be how do we provide base load power. The question should be how does energy fit into the future of Cleveland. This question could be framed in a total energy audit for the city of Cleveland. Not just government, but transportation, commercial, residential, gas and electric. If we can define the problem in terms that are systemic then we may be able to develop a plan that paints a picture of a politically viable answer. For instance there is a plan to finance weatherization / insulation of exhisting structures via property taxes. It solves a lot of problems with long term cost recovery renovations, credit and etc.. In essence the cost is paid for with municipal bonds and spread out over time on your property taxes. Thus the building / property owner is paying for his increase in taxes with his savings on energy and the city/county is repaying the bond. Everybody is near revenue neutral until the bond is paid off. When the bond is paid off we have a very economic and energy efficient city.
The truth is that these systems are mostly based on gas as heat because the focus traditionally, (and rightly so), is on  weatherization. What if this system was packaged, with reasonable metrics, as part of a total energy solution.  Maybe the pay as you go system could be premised on every participant having a total energy audit and smart metering. A total energy audit would give every person an awareness of how they are spending their energy dollars. Pumps, motors, windows, insulation, air conditioners, gas, gasoline, electricity and freezers all are the subject of a good audit. Also the audit could develop metrics help assess how changes in the present building / energy system / behavior could save them money and how much. This could lead to all sorts of societal benefits such as a hyper efficient infrastructure, Urban village energy systems, smart metering, cogeneration and the ability to decrease the need for base load power. Energy and its costs are going to mark the future. We need to innovate the solutions to this problem, but first we need to define it both on a regional and individual basis. The picture needs to be painted with a very clear brush. It needs to say, “you individually and your community have a big energy problem and this is how much it is costing you. If you do nothing here is how much it is going to cost you now and in the future. Here are a series of solutions and here are their costs and benefits and how it will be financed.”  Financing it via property taxes and presented in a revenue neutral manner makes it possibly politically  and individually viable.  Solve the problem in terms of physical, community, governmental, commercial, economic and social systems. The solutions need to work for the homeowner, the landlord, the office building owner as well as the factory owner and renter.
A system such as this will give us a built in market opportunity. Smart metering provides an opportunity to develop not only local and individual alternative power sources but alternative base load power. If base load power was more expensive then that provides incentives for co-generation and energy storage systems. It also provides incentives for products and innovations such as a timer on the dryer so it will turn on between 1am and 5 am. The important thing is to develop the plan and the individual and community energy base line and plan. Oberlin Ohio ( another AMP community), is debating the value of incentivizing the replacement of inefficient appliances as a way of dealing with a base line energy problem. It also is exploring solar and storage.
Building another power plant will solve the  base load problem. It does not solve the fact that we are using 30 to 40 % of our total energy in the exhisting buildings. Changing the way we use, when we use, how we use, and how we generate energy is the opportunity to make Cleveland Ohio the most energy efficient city in the Midwest. If our infrastructure is more efficient than another town does that make Cleveland more attractive? If my home is energy efficient is it worth more? If the citizens, government and businesses in my community spend less on energy, will they have more disposable income?  Is there a direct community benefit to developing a sustainable energy structure for the city? Is the failure of the AMP Ohio coal plant an opportunity? I think so.
Please pass this idea forward and lets generate some discussion around a community energy plan.
I look forward to your comments.
Jon Eckerle

( categories: )

We need a NO MORE "AMPS" Moratorium for Cleveland

Interesting that the Columbus Dispatch had this story posted at 3:29 this morning, and you shared the news and your insight on REALNEO (and by email) at 8:31 this evening but it still doesn;t appear to be news on

It is one of the biggest stories in quite a while - thanks for pointing it out, John... and for your vision.

This is very good news, to see the end to a very bad plan that made Clevelanders' and our leaders bad.

It seems our leaders are off the hook on AMP, but their lack of intelligence and vision in supporting the project in the first place is not forgotten.

John, as you say, it is all about conservation, demand side management and smart energy solutions - but our leadership and their followers have not been smart about developing the right energy vision and understanding in the community.

We need to start changing our energy policy in NEO by demanding of our leaders NO MORE AMPS!

Disrupt IT

amp ohio coal

A friend at the PD told me that they broke the story... interesting.

They break the environment, not environmental news

Ask your friend at the PD to show us the URLs of ALL their great coverage on AMP -Ohio... and MMCO and Cleveland Thermal, while they are at it... and about the harm caused by burning coal in this community, and Ohio.

Show us ALL the editorials and articles about the environmental wisdom of all our great councilmembers, and our Mayor, just re-elected for their great vision and intelligence to buy 50 years of AMP-Ohio, and we shall see proof of an over-blown newspaper that makes fools of our leaders and citizens.

Throw in the annual Kevin O'Brien Global-Warming-Is-A-Conspiracy articles for good and proper measure of the harm the PD causes this community.

As far as I can recall, the PD writers and editors covering business and the environment have always been pro-coal, pro-pollution, AMP'ed-up whores to industry, period!

Same goes for all our political and business leaders in NEO... correct me if I missed some environmentalist among our leaders...

Where has GCBL INSTITUTE been on AMP-Ohio, Cleveland Thermal and MMCO coal burning?

They were paid by Cleveland Thermal to help ease their way - were they paid by AMP as well?

Who was paid by AMP to force that crime upon this community?


Disrupt IT

REJOICE AMP project is DEAD!!!

CPP is going to need to derive base line power from somewhere. 

Manomet Observatory in Massachusetts recently published a fascinating article on the development of wind farms.  States currently with the most existing wind power capacity in megawatts--are Texas (8,361), Iowa (3,043), California (2,787), Minnesota (1,805), Washington (1,575), Oregon (1,408) and New York (1,264).  After these states--the numbers drop off considerably with Maine (104) followed by New Hampshire (25).

Ohio is no where on the list. I don't know where we rank in solar capacity, but I won't be surprised if we are also--no where on the list.