August 2018 Newsletter

Northeast Ohio Sierra Club’s next Conservation Committee meeting will be held at 7 PM on Tuesday, August 7 at the Fairhill Partners Building, 12200 Fairhill Road in Cleveland. Our Executive Committee meeting will be held directly following the conclusion of the Conservation Committee Meeting.

New Solar Array in Brooklyn

Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Public Power, and IGS Solar are close to completing a solar array consisting of 35,520 panels on approximately 17 acres of a 75-acre landfill site located in Brooklyn, Ohio. Sized at 4.0MW (DC), the array will be large enough to supply up to 8% of the electricity consumption for 16 county-owned commercial buildings. This is equivalent to powering roughly 500 residential homes.

The developers of the project, Enerlogics and McDonald Hopkins, have worked with Cuyahoga County for the past 2.5 years to determine the best way for the County to purchase the energy from the array. In December 2017, the County entered a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Cleveland Public Power (CPP) to purchase 100% of power generated from the array. A 20-year lease was signed for IGS Solar – a turn-key commercial and residential solar provider based in Columbus, Ohio, who will own, operate, and maintain the array – to utilize the land. Cuyahoga County will have the opportunity to purchase the system before the end of the initial 10-year PPA term, if desired.

This project is one of the largest solar arrays built in Ohio, and offers many economic benefits to the Cuyahoga County. The County estimates saving as much as $3 million on utility bills over the next 25 years through the solar agreement. The array is built on an otherwise unproductive landfill site, and the 20-year land lease will help the City of Brooklyn offset maintenance costs of approximately $400,000 over the course of the next 20 years.

Cuyahoga County’s strength in regional thought leadership and driving collaboration around complex projects has been critical to the success of the long-term planning of the project.

“I’m proud of the work our Department of Sustainability has done in developing and executing this innovative project,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “We are growing renewable energy production in Northeast Ohio, partnering with the City of Brooklyn to increase economic and environmental benefits for county residents, and saving money. Our county is committed to projects like this one. The solar landfill installation, which is the largest in the State of Ohio, will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and develop our clean energy economy into the future. It is crucial that local governments take action to help solve our global issue – climate change.”

With strict rules enforced by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for projects built on non-contaminated, closed and capped landfills, this project is the first of its kind in the State of Ohio. The Ohio EPA does not allow for extensive, below-surface work on landfills. Thus, to maintain the integrity of the landfill cap, the developers have utilized a ballasted solar racking system in which the panels and supports rest on concrete blocks, rather than driven steel posts.

Nearly all the product and labor involved in the engineering, design, and installation has been performed by highly-skilled Ohio-based residents, which was a main priority for the County.

According to Patrick Smith, vice president of IGS Solar, this project is a testament to the creativity and commitment that Ohioans have for building a sustainable future. “We hope that opportunities for solar in Ohio continue to grow, and that this project is a shining example of what is possible,” he said. “Working with Cuyahoga County and the local teams to design this project that will help control the County’s energy costs using this renewable energy source, has been a great success. We look forward to being a long-standing sustainability partner to them well into the future.”

Sustainability is layered into the County’s long-term, strategic plan, as it believes a sustainable region focused on fighting climate change, is critical to keeping the region thriving.

“This solar array will enable the County to continue to contain long-term energy costs for our facilities, while also supporting renewable energy development,” stated Mike Foley, Director of the Department of Sustainability for Cuyahoga County. “With the current challenges around our state’s renewable energy initiatives, we believe the obligation is in the hands of the local governments and private industry to do the right thing when it comes to sustainability.”

There are currently 70 other closed and capped landfills that the County views as other potential sites for development, as it develops potential plans to replicate this project model in the future.

“This project is the culmination of a cooperative effort among Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Public Power, the Cities of Cleveland and Brooklyn, Enerlogics, McDonald Hopkins, the Ohio EPA, and IGS Solar,” added Foley. “Working with these expert partners to turn a brownfield site into productive land and generate renewable energy has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s been an extraordinary journey and we are all very excited about this project.”

IGS Solar plans to have power flowing by mid-August and a ribbon cutting ceremony, including a tour, is being planned for later in August.

Vote for the Environment

The Northeast Ohio Sierra Club’s Political Committee has put together information to help voters find candidates more likely to support positive environmental legislation.

For more information about the Club’s candidate endorsement process, please click here.

For a list of questions you can ask the candidates to determine where they stand on environmental issues, please click here.

See our endorsements HERE…

Upcoming Events

➤ AUG 3: Cleveland Climate Action Plan Draft Release –Join Our Friday August 3rd Press Conference!
The city of Cleveland has released the Climate Action Plan Draft and your input is desperately needed! The Time is Now to Demand 100% Clean Energy Goals in Cleveland! Join us at 10am on the steps of Cleveland City Hall on this Friday August 3rd. Speakers will share vital information on Clean Energy, Climate Change, Health and the need for us to all work together to bring about a change. Written comments can be made here http://clecap.civicomment.org/climate-action-plan-full-draft

Please email jocelyn.travis@sierraclub.org to confirm and for more information.

➤ AUG 5: 401 Permit Training
Join Ohio Water Committee Chair, Ric Queen, for a training on Sunday, August 5th at 1 pm in meeting room 1 at the Akron-Summit Library main branch, 60 S High St. There’s parking in the attached deck. The training will give you a better understanding of the 401 and 404 permits issued by Ohio EPA for public comment.

➤ AUG 7: Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 Campaign Opens New Office in Cleveland
The Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 Campaign opened a new office in the Fairhill Partners Building, 12200 Fairhill Road, Suite B418. Jocelyn Travis, Ready For 100 Campaign Manager is excited to have a Cleveland location to host meetings and events for the many activities and events held by the organization. The office will also be used by Emily Obringer, the Ohio Chapter Water Conservation Coordinator and NEO ExCom Leadership.

Everyone is invited to check out our new office on Tuesday, August 7th at 6:00 pm before the NEO ExCom Meeting. We look forward to seeing you!

AUG 19: On the Road for Climate Action
7-8:30 pm
Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar, 14810 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
Join UC Irvine air pollution scientist Shahir Masri and educator Athina Simolaris on the Cleveland stop of their 10-week cross-country tour to advance the climate change conversation and inspire greater action on climate. Presentation and Q&A will touch on social justice aspects of climate change, carbon-fee-and-dividend legislation, and more.

See their website and video at roadforclimateaction.com. Sponsored by Citizens’ Climate Lobby. For more info, email glennthecampbell@gmail.com.

➤ AUG 19: Headlands Dunes Summer Clean Up
9601 Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Mentor, Ohio
Join Northeast Ohio Sierra Club at Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve on August 19th from 9:30 – Noon. There will be a guided walk with Adam Wohlever the Northeast Preserve Manager for ODNR before the clean up begins!

Please dress appropriately, dress in layers and prepare for inclement weather, wear toe-covering boots/shoes, and/or items you don’t mind getting dirty. Work gloves, trash pickers, trash bags, and snack bars will be provided, but please bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily Obringer at emily.obringer@sierraclub.org.

Facebook Event Page…

➤ SEPT 8: Save the Date… People’s Climate Movement (PCM)
Join us on Saturday, September 8th at 10am for an Environmental Justice Tour & Community Dialogue in recognition of the National People’s Climate Movement Event. We will tour some of Cleveland’s Toxic and Gem Sites and discuss next steps at the end of the tour. This is a Free Event and Lunch is provided. Register Here: https://actionnetwork.org/events/environmental-justice-tour-and-dialogue?referrer=jocelyn-travis&source=direct_link

SEPT 15: Walk Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve
10 AM.
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve, Erie County, Huron Township
Walk 5 miles or 2 hours in Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve. This wetland is some of the last remaining undeveloped stretch of shoreline in the Sandusky Bay region. See black crowned night herons, common terns, the eastern garter snake, eastern fox snake, northern water snake, midland painted turtle, Blandings’ turtle, cottontail rabbit, eastern fox squirrel, raccoon, muskrat, white-tailed deer, red fox, Lake Erie, etc. For more information contact Dennis at 216-939-8229 or dennislakeerie@aol.com.

 SEPT 21-21: 2018 Sustainable Cleveland Summit
Cleveland Public Auditorium, 500 Lakeside Ave
By bringing together more than 500 sustainability leaders, the Summit provides an opportunity to work across sectors to strengthen existing initiatives, foster collaboration, and learn about recent innovations.

For more information on our sponsorship opportunities and the Summit, visit www.SustainableCleveland.org/summit2018.

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Committee News

Executive Committee

There are many opportunities to volunteer with the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club. We have an opening in our ExCom Committee, we need fundraising and events volunteers, help with Inspiring Connections Outdoors–a program for taking kids on monthly outings and more. Read more…

Coal & Energy

Stand up against coal bailouts in person June 15 in Columbus. June 15 marks the beginning of legal proceedings for First Energy’s bailout proposal. Read more…

Rainforest Committee

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