October 30, 2007

Faculty Senate chair testifies before Ohio Senate committee that is pondering Ohio's energy future

Engineering Professor David Matthiesen speaks to Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee in support of Senate Bill 221

David Matthiesen

David H. Matthiesen, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University testified in support of a sweeping energy bill that would require new standards including re-regulating electricity rates. In addition, the bill would require the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to adopt rules that require 25 percent of electricity sold in the state to be generated from advanced energy sources. Matthiesen, also chair of the university's Faculty Senate, spoke before the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Tuesday, October 23.

Matthiesen, who is leading the university's effort for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Demonstration Project and Research Center, testified in favor of the provisions within Senate Bill 221 concerning the creation of a Renewable Portfolio Standard as part of the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard. The project and research center is a collaboration of the School of Engineering and the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners and its Energy Development Task Force.

The goal of S.B. 221 is to revise state energy policy to address electric service price regulation, new bonding authority for advanced energy projects, advanced (including renewable) energy portfolio standards, energy efficiency standards, and greenhouse gas emission reporting and carbon control planning requirements.

The Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Demonstration Project and Research Center is under the umbrella of the School of Engineering's Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation. The institute is being designed to implement near-term solutions today to sustain tomorrow's industries and to provide Ohio with a competitive advantage in terms of cost, reliability and the ability to access, generate, transport and store its sustainable energy resources, Matthiesen said. The goals of the institute are to:

  • Help Ohio become a national and international focal point for energy innovation and a world leader in technologies that provide sustainable, reliable and affordable energy;
  • Transform Ohio's existing industry and attract new industry on the basis of access to more reliable and lower-cost energy;
  • Realize the full potential of integrated fossil fuel and alternative energy systems to provide efficient generation, transportation, utilization and storage; and
  • Leverage Ohio's affordable energy and clean environment toward making Ohio a "destination" state.

The bill requires the PUCO to adopt rules prescribing advanced energy portfolio standards that will apply to the standard service offers of electric utilities. In adopting the rules, PUCO must consider available technology, costs, job creation and economic impacts. The rules must require evaluation of and encourage, where necessary, development and implementation of next-generation energy technologies, including, but not limited to, renewable energy sources, clean coal technology, advanced nuclear generation, fuel cells and cogeneration.

In reference to the university's wind energy-harnessing efforts, Matthiesen said its efforts, in partnership with the county commissioners and the Energy Development Task Force, are working diligently to develop the Great Lakes Wind Energy Demonstration Project and Research Center.

"This will create a facility, unique in the world, which will provide solutions to reduce risk to commercial investments in offshore wind farm development in the Great Lakes," he said. "This effort combined with the enactment of the Renewable Portfolio Standard contained in S.B. 221, will help provide a foundation to establish a new offshore wind industry and support its growth into a national model for the renewable energy industry," he said.

"The university appreciates Governor (Ted) Strickland's and the (Senate Energy and Public Utilities) committee's leadership in creating policy and legislation that recognizes the importance of a Renewable Portfolio Standard to help anchor and grow the offshore wind industry in Ohio."

For more information, contact Laura Massie, 216-368-4442.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, October 30, 2007 09:20 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Environment, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Public Policy/Politics, Research, Technology

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