Eleven regional projects will receive almost $6.8 million dollars to support innovative energy efficiency programs, the Duke Class Benefit Fund Board of Trustees announced today. The Board of Trustees was created as part of the class action settlement between southwestern Ohio energy consumers and Duke Energy in Williams v. Duke Energy.
The settlement of Williams v. Duke Energy was approved in 2016 by Chief Judge Edmund A. Sargus, US District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Western Division.
While $50 million was recently distributed to business and individual claimants throughout southwestern Ohio, the settlement also established an $8 million fund for energy efficiency programs under the direction of an independent board, with court oversight.
“These grants are a unique combination of approaches that reduce energy use today and tomorrow,” said Brewster Rhoads, chairman of the Board. “We wanted to make sure that these settlement dollars built a foundation for continuing energy efficiency gains across the region.”
Duke Energy Class Action Grant Recipients:
People Working Cooperatively (PWC), $1,750,000: PWC Whole House Program
The program will leverage funds with other local, state and private dollars to enhance PWC’s Whole House programming providing low-income residences with essential energy conservation measures, home repairs and modifications that would otherwise go undone due to current PWC program funding restrictions.
Cincinnati Development Fund, $1,500,000: Green Cincinnati Development Fund
The project will take on the energy efficiency (EE) challenge in rental housing: owners and renters have different financial incentives that can be an obstacle to EE investment. Two revolving loan funds will be created. The first will target construction financing and the second will target retrofits in multi-family buildings. Both will leverage additional private capital to magnify the extent of cost effective EE investment.
Creekwood Energy, $1,100,000: Targeted Commercial Energy Management
The program is a turnkey energy management program based on advanced analytics and a performance-based financing mechanism. Partners include Ecova, Joule Assets and Duke Energy. The target audience is commercial customers and the funds will be used to leverage private capital.
City of Cincinnati, $500,000: Energy Loan Fund
Funds will establish an internal revolving loan fund to provide a sustainable funding source to implement projects to reduce energy consumption at City facilities. This loan fund will establish permanent funding for energy efficiency while reducing City operating costs and carbon footprint. The City of Cincinnati has a large deferred maintenance backlog that, if addressed, has significant energy savings potential.
OKI Regional Council of Governments, $500,000: More Efficient & Secure Energy Future
OKI, along with its partner The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, will prepare Community Strategic Energy Plans (CSEP) for interested local governments in the four counties where OKI has membership relationships. The goal of the CSEP will be to identify actions and policies that will produce locally desired results in energy efficiency. In addition, the CSEP will address strategies to boost energy resiliency, reduce pollution, and provide needed energy infrastructure to support desired growth. An incentive fund will encourage municipal plan implementation.
Energy Optimizers, $463,030: Energy Assessments and Audits
The program will provide a professional ASHRAE Level II energy audit for under-served non-residential markets (houses of worship, not-for-profits, small/medium commercial businesses and local governments) to provide the information necessary to implement energy savings and efficiency projects. If an implementation agreement is signed within 120 days, the audit cost will be incorporated into building improvements and those funds will be redirected back to the Energy Audit Fund for ongoing projects. Partners include Green Energy Ohio and Interfaith Power & Light.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, $425,000: LEDs — Lighting up the Zoo & Avondale
Grant support will help complete the Zoo’s transition to all-LED lighting. The second component of the grant will install LED lighting in at least 1,500 homes in Avondale and improve safety and security lighting in up to 50 trouble spots. Partners will include AmeriCorps, the Avondale Community Council, the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation, Easter Seals, a coalition of churches, Duke Energy and District 4 Police.
Working in Neighborhoods, $370,000: Net Zero Urban Village
The project is one piece of an approach to help stabilize families and the neighborhood as a whole by promoting healthy living, economic vitality, housing, and community infrastructure. It will serve low-income South Cumminsville residents who have traditionally been excluded from the EE market by conducting energy and repair assessments and implement energy retrofits. Funds will also be utilized for energy education and outreach in South Cumminsville.
Village of Silverton, $200,000: Silver Tun Brewing Company Project
Grant funds will be used on EE capital equipment items that will improve building efficiency and enhance the success of a new craft brewery facility (Silver Tun Brewing Co.) to be housed in the 1951-era Silverton Municipal Building at 6860 Plainfield Road. The historic building will be turned over to the Silverton Community Improvement Corp.
Green Umbrella, $80,000: Energy Star Refrigeration
The program creates an incentive fund for Energy Star or EE refrigeration for the local food system. This advances regional sustainability goals around EE, local food, food waste reduction, and fresh food access, while benefiting the maximum number of class members through something they do daily (eat).
U.S. Green Building Council, $79,000: Greening the MLS
In 2015, the Board of Realtors/MLS (Multiple Listing Service) agreed to incorporate an EE form into the MLS, enabling homeowners to upload specific EE improvements on their home. This project will add a second level of EE integration in its system enabling greater transparency, and a targeted campaign to broadly communicate the benefits/application of this resource.
The Class Benefit Fund Board of Trustees will monitor project progress and may make additional funding recommendations to the Court over the lifetime of the projects. At least an additional $1.2 million will be awarded through a grant process over the next one to two years. All programs will be implemented across the Duke Energy distribution territory in Ohio.