OAQDA AirFocus Winter 2019 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Happy Holidays!
 
As we approach the New Year, I am taking this opportunity to reflect on the growth and success of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority during 2019. And, we’ve had quite the year!
 
Take, for example, our key programs to incentivize investments through our air quality revenue bonds for cleaner technologies and practices, which improves air quality in Ohio. In 2019, nearly $500 million in bond proceeds were provided for a greater number of projects than the Authority has done in recent years. In fact, this year we doubled our performance over the previous five-year period.  
 
Our work benefits companies of all sizes and locations throughout the state. We’ve maximized our grant assistance to serve a greater number of small businesses, which also leveraged our bond financing along with our support as Ohio’s small business ombudsman to assist them in complying with federal regulations, such as the Clean Air Act. During the year, I enjoyed my visits with Eric Warren of Henry’s Dry Cleaners in Cleveland and DeLee Powell of Baker’s Collision Repair in Mansfield. These leaders are just two examples of many family-owned businesses that illustrate the essence of our local communities.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, many global companies benefit from our programs to sustain or grow their business in Ohio by enhancing productivity and creating jobs by using environmental practices, energy efficiency and sustainability. For example, AMG Vanadium is expanding into a new recycling facility near Zanesville, and several companies are investing in retrofitting their office buildings and facilities with energy-saving improvements as a result of the Authority’s financial assistance.
 
Before pivoting into next year as we plan our continued growth, I wanted to express our sincere gratitude for your interest and engagement in our work during 2019. There are so many wonderful stories in our portfolio, featuring business and community leaders who are collaborating on the mutually inclusive goals of economic prosperity and environmentally sustainability. I’m excited to increase our efforts to help even more in 2020.
 
Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!


Christina O’Keeffe
Executive Director

 

2019 Marks Significant Growth for OAQDA

This year has been busy for OAQDA. The agency has supported a greater number of Ohio businesses in financing their clean air projects than ever in recent history.
 
This growth is most evident in the programs involving the agency’s primary role as the issuer of air quality revenue bonds. OAQDA has exceeded projections in the amount of capital invested into a greater number of projects that improve air quality. Nearly $500 million has been issued by OAQDA for nearly 30 projects. These results double the agency’s average performance over the past five years.
 
The proceeds from the sale of air quality revenue bonds issued by OAQDA allows businesses, both small and large, as well as public institutions to invest in pollution control equipment, energy efficiency measures, recycling or solid waste disposal facilities, and other efforts that contribute to improved air quality in communities across Ohio.
 
Among the notable projects is the new recycling facility being constructed by AMG Vanadium LLC in Muskingum County. With $325 million in proceeds from bonds approved by OAQDA in June, the company is doubling its capacity to convert more resid spent catalyst waste from the petroleum industry into specialty metals for use in the steel and stainless-steel industries. In addition to the environmental benefits, the project will create 100 new jobs in eastern Ohio.
 
Many projects in OAQDA’s financing programs will produce ongoing, annual savings from improved operations and lower utility bills due to the investment in energy efficiency improvements.  OAQDA also experienced greater interest from property owners to utilize other innovative financing tools, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), which provides additional security in the financial transaction through an assessment by the building owner. In 2019, OAQDA issued more than $17.5 million for energy efficiency projects.

State-owned facilities also are benefiting from OAQDA’s programs to lower operating costs related to energy consumption.  In 2019, OAQDA issued bonds in the total amount of $15.5 million for four correctional facilities in partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). These projects in Richland and Madison counties represent a continuing relationship between OAQDA and OFCC, which guides and manages capital construction projects for state-owned facilities and worked with the Ohio Department of Correctional Institutions to identify and propose the energy improvements.  The total net savings for Ohio is guaranteed at more than $2 million through energy management companies that are implementing these energy-savings improvements.
 
Equally important this year is the greater number of small businesses served in many communities across Ohio. As their advocate in the role of the small business ombudsman, OAQDA provided low-cost financing and grant assistance through its program called the Clean Air Resource Center (CARC), approving up to $2.1 million for 16 small businesses. The range of these companies feature an international exhibit design company to neighborhood dry cleaners and an award-winning auto body shop. These projects help small business owners with the purchase of equipment that reduces harmful air pollutants that is emitted during their operations. The results include better health of employees and customers along with enhanced productivity with the ability to retain or create new jobs.
 
For details on projects in 2019, click here. A complete summary of the OAQDA’s work in 2019 will be published in its annual report, available in April, 2020.
 

Nuclear and Renewable Generation Fund Programs to Launch in January


As delegated in Amended House Bill 6 by the General Assembly, OAQDA is the program administrator of the Nuclear and Renewable Generation Fund Programs. Since the bill was enacted earlier this year, the agency has been making preparations in order to meet the legislative requirements.

The first key task is the adoption of administrative rules that involves the state’s rulemaking process under the oversight of the Common Sense Initiative and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). Over the past several months, OAQDA worked through the process and most recently, attained approval by JCARR at its December 9th meeting. As a result, these rules will become effective on January 2, 2020. 

Beginning in early January 2020, OAQDA will then release applications for the qualifying nuclear and renewable energy resources, as defined in Section 3706.43 of the Ohio Revised Code, in order for these generation facilities to become eligible for the applicable nuclear or renewable resource credits to be issued for each megawatt-hour of electricity.  The price for each credit paid will be nine dollars.

Applications will be due to OAQDA by February 1, and approvals made no later than March 31. Thereafter, reporting on the approved facilities will commence in April. OAQDA is on track to meet these deadlines as prescribed in this legislation.

The program will use the Generation Attribution Tracking System, or GATS, to track and issue credits based on the qualifying generation reported in the system in each month. GATS is a proven industry tool that tracks and records the characteristic data of registered generators, including those producing electricity from renewable or nuclear sources. A credit can be issued for each megawatt-hour, or every 1,000 kilowatt-hours, of electricity generated.

As a first step in launching the program, OAQDA will post information regarding the opening of the nuclear and renewable energy application process early in January.