by Anthony Skeens
at 04:02 PM | Permalink
Council support changes city manager's mind about going back to fossil fuels
City Manager Scott Stiles today announced his intention to keep Cincinnati’s
electricity green after City Councilman Chris Seelbach rallied a majority of
council to oppose Stiles’ earlier plan to go back to using conventional fossil
fuels to light and heat the city.
Cincinnati will continue using 100-percent renewable-backed energy from First
city signed on with First Energy in 2012, making Cincinnati the largest metropolitan
are in the country to use 100-percent renewable energy.
was expected to sign the three-year contract with First Energy Solutions today,
according to city spokeswoman Meg Olberding.
and other council members convinced Stiles to change his mind about the
contract, Olberding says.
also added that First Energy told Stiles it would allow any customer who wants
to save the additional $5.63 annual savings of conventional energy to opt-out
of the green energy agreement.
green energy plan is estimated to save customers $43.58 compared Duke’s
65,000 households and small businesses will continue using First Energy unless
they choose to retain another energy supplier.
will also institute a green energy fee of $.006 on each electric bill as part
of a program he’s developing that will help local business owners and residents
equip their homes or offices with energy-saving solutions. The program will be
run by the Office of Environment and Sustainability.
by Hannah McCartney
at 03:32 PM | Permalink
Cincinnati startup hopes to innovate solar energy industry with GoSun solar cooker
It started with a couple of greasy hot dogs. When solar energy expert and Cincinnati native Patrick Sherwin was charged with removing some solar collectors from a client's roof, he got to thinking. Those solar collector tubes, he realized, were collecting such a great deal of heat that he thought it just might be enough to cook food. So he took a few of them home and did just that. Today, he and one of his business partners are grilling fajita peppers on a cloud-free September day in the backyard of a Spring Grove Village home. Soon, he hopes, Cincinnatians — and the rest of the world — will have access to a new form of solar technology he's developed based on that same solar collector that cooked his first hot dog. In the 10 years since Sherwin removed those solar collectors from a client's rooftop, he's been working on perfecting the art of solar cooking; on Sept. 5, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to mass-produce his GoSun Stove, a compact, $279 solar cooker that he hopes could not just change the way Western civilization uses and looks at sources of renewable energy, but also impact the entire world. His interest in solar energy originally stems from his desire to shift away from dependency on harmful fossil fuels, but it's branched out into something greater. Cooking, a cultural exercise shared and loved across the globe, seemed like the perfect place to start. "Everyone's well aware of the fact that fossil fuels
are creating a lot of issues," he says. "Not to mention that they're dwindling,
getting more expensive...but, you know, there are also also other
resources — natural gases, gasoline, electricity...it's all coming from
these giant, multinational corporations that we don't appreciate in our
lives, so why not power stuff ourselves?"The Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than one-quarter of its $40,000 goal within the first 10 hours of its launch, is being used as means for Sherwin and his team to raise funds for marketing, equipment and manufacturing and other programs to bring the invention to developing countries in need of less dangerous and time consuming ways to cook food. Sherwin hopes to eventually mass produce his solar cooker to both promote less dependency on fossil fuels across the the world and make a dent in smoke-inhalation deaths around the world, which account for the No. 1 cause of indoor ire-related deaths around the world. His current prototype, which he says is the culmination of about 30 different models he's tinkered with over the past years, is a 3.5-pound, sleek, shiny-looking pop-up contraption that looks more like a play spaceship than a gadget you'd see at a modern-day grillout. He and his partners claim they've created a solar cooker that uses the most efficient and advanced technology available in the green market today. Solar power technology, Sherwin concedes, is a field that's been subject to innovation and research for decades, particularly in Eastern countries such as China, where solar panels are commonly used for everyday activities like heating tea kettles. It's been a long journey to come to model Sherwin and his team are working on now, which he says is markedly different from other modern-day solar cooker models. He cites another Kickstarter launched earlier this
summer for a different solar cooker model, which garnered around
$140,000 to meet its goal. He says GoSun Stove's model is particularly
innovative because it possesses the unique ability to insulate its
products in a safe and more efficient way; the GoSun Stove, he says,
isn't hot to the touch, is portable and easy to clean, retains heat and
cooks food much more quickly than other solar cookers on the market
was frying ants with a magnifying glass on the sidewalk when I was a
kid. It's nothing really that new," he laughs. "The reality of those [other models] is that they're not really safe, because
what happens is you have so much intensity of sunlight on a particular
spot in ends up creating like a...it could burn your eyes or hands." Still, like most successful inventions, the venture has involved a good bit of trial and error."It was pretty messy what I was doing originally. I'd
take like, eight hot dogs, and I found a stainless steel skewer. So I
had like eight hot dogs on this giant skewer and I remember hitting the
brakes in my car too hard one day after an event and I didn't realize
there was a bunch of grease and the grease shot off and hit my
windshield with hot dog grease. So that was a wake-up call. It was
really a pain to clean up. Every once in a while you would lose a hot
dog in the skewer and it'd get stuck at the bottom," Sherwin laughs.Once they earn more capital, Sherwin and his team hope to
develop more versatile models, including those with larger insulator
tubes to accommodate larger quantities of food. Currently, the GoSun
Stove prototype accommodates up to 3 pounds of food and can reach up to
700 degrees Fahrenheit. The current model uses a compact, easy-to-clean tray, but his first hot dog-based models have evolved a great deal to what his KickStarter campaign advertises today. Those first prototypes used large, cumbersome solar collector trays, until Sherwin had what he calls his "A-ha!" moment at a solar expo two or three years ago. "The thing I was cooking with was about six feet long,
it was cumbersome..and I was at a solar expo at a conference and there
was a tabletop thing that was demonstrating what a solar hot water
heater would look like, and it was tubes about two feet long. And I saw
that and I went, 'A-ha.' " That took the GoSun Stove from simply an idea to something tangible and marketable to everyone from survivalists and campers, green life enthusiasts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) interested in improving the lives of populations in developing countries, although he and his partners say there's a lot of planning and research to be done before they try to take the GoSun across the world. "These models we're showing on KickStarter are not
what we're intending to take to the developing world. Far more
affordable stoves that'll use the human and natural resources of the
areas we're trying to empower to make it a real solution that'll stick.
And we realize that we don't know what they need. We're conscious of our
ignorance," says Matt Gillespie, an industrial designer on the GoSun team. Sherwin adds, "We've got to come up with
accessories that make it easier to eat things like rice and beans, which
is what, like, 90 percent of the world eats."Today, just three days into their KickStarter campaign, they've raised almost $30,000 of their $40,000 goal. Sherwin's hopeful it will be well-received once he and his team are ready to officially launch and that the GoSun will actually change the landscape of solar energy technology and its presence in our everyday lives. "Most users, when they open their packages, they're going to be like, 'Ohmigosh,' a little bit, and then they might also get a little sunburned as far as they'll want to take it out on any day because they think it's going to work just like a microwave. It's not a microwave and you can't just hit a button. But it is the microwave of solar ovens."
Push for solar energy could help revitalize Cincinnati’s economy
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Could Cincinnati become the solar capital
of the region? A new report by a citizen-based environmental advocacy
group says yes.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 2, 2012
spending several weeks reviewing proposals from seven energy
providers as part of Cincinnati’s initiative to power homes using
energy aggregation, a decision was made April 26 — and it’s a
green one. Cincinnati
has selected First Energy Solutions (FES) as the city’s new
electricity provider, which will make it the first major city in the
U.S. to use a 100 percent “green” electricity supply.
by Hannah McCartney
at 01:32 PM | Permalink
Decision makes Cincinnati first major U.S. city to offer 100 percent green electricity
spending several weeks reviewing requests for proposals (RFPs) from seven energy
providers as part of Cincinnati’s initiative to power homes using energy
aggregation, a decision has been made — and it’s a green one. Cincinnati
has selected First Energy Solutions (FES) as the city’s new electricity
provider, which will make it the first major city in the U.S. to use a 100
percent “green” electricity supply.
aggregation process works like this: All eligible individual customers “pool”
their buying power to form a larger unit, which holds more leverage to
negotiate lower prices on electricity. Cincinnati voters passed a ballot in November 2011 to approve the city's efforts to choose an energy aggregation provider. The designation of FES's energy supply as "green" energy doesn't mean that residents will see windmills and solar panels popping up across the city's landscape; rather, the energy will be designated "green" based on non-tangible renewable energy credits (RECs), which each represent proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity has been sourced from a "renewable" energy resource. FES will provide the city with enough RECs to power all interested consumers' homes, meaning no home opted-in to the aggregation power will use electricity sourced from non-renewable resources such as coal. The city's possession of those RECs will represent the commitment to sourcing electricity in residents' homes from renewable, green resources. Some of the RECs provided to the city by FES will reportedly be sourced from local energy sources, including the University of Cincinnati's generating facility and the Cincinnati Zoo's Solar Canopy Project, although those sources will be a small component of the overall REC collection, according to Larry Falkin, Director for the Office of Environmental Quality. “Not
only will we be able to put real money back in people’s pockets, but
this establishes the city as a leader in supporting green energy
choices,” said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who spearheaded the push to provide consumers with an energy aggregation option nearly two years ago. Over the
next several weeks, Cincinnati will work to negotiate a contact with FES, and
residents will receive information about FES’s services.
Residents who aren't interested in participating in the city's green aggregation efforts will be required to opt-out before the services are implemented. FES will notify all eligible customers and those who don't want to participate must reply to be opted out. There will be no cost to enroll in the FES program.According
to the city’s press release, FES will save the average household about $133
each year on electricity bills. The switch could become effective by June.