Multi-University Collaboration for Sustainable Land Use Planning- A Tipping Point Planner Perrysburg, Ohio Case Study

The City of Perrysburg drains into three watersheds at the Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 12 scale—Grass Creek Diversion (HUC 04000090901), Grassy Creek (HUC 04000090902), and Crooked Creek (HUC 0409000090903)—which feed into the Maumee River and, subsequently, western Lake Erie. This area was identified by Ohio Sea Grant and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant as an ideal location to hold a Tipping Points Planner (TPP) workshop. Through collaboration with Reveille, a local planning consultancy, Perrysburg, Ohio was identified as a potential community partner because the city is in the initial stages of preparing a comprehensive plan update.

Workshop

In total, over 55 people participated in the workshop sessions. Ohio Sea Grant, Reveille, and the City of Perrysburg led the development of a steering committee which included key stakeholders from city departments, elected officials, and the public, as well as representatives from the City of Toledo, relevant state agencies, and Wood County. The steering committee held an initial meeting on August 13, 2018 in Perrysburg, Ohio to discuss goals for the workshop series and to identify additional planning considerations that may fall outside of the purview of the Tipping Point Planner. The steering committee also identified three key focus areas for the workshop: Land Use Planning and Open Space, Green Infrastructure and Stormwater, and Nutrients and Food Webs.

The Tipping Point Planner workshop was held to support Perrysburg’s comprehensive plan update by investigating water quality issues tied to topics listed above. A public visioning session, technical tipping points data and breakout session, and an action planning workshop were held from August 13 to August 15, 2018 at Perrysburg’s City Administration Building and Way Public Library. All meetings were open the public.

During the visioning session, participants were asked a series of questions to identify community characteristics and to understand how the public values natural resources in the Perrysburg area. Participants also discussed assets and opportunities related to the three key topics described above.

During the second meeting, participants received in-depth presentations on nutrient loading, green infrastructure, and land use issues in the region. Researchers from Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Purdue University who developed the models forming the foundation of TPP presented, discussed the data, interpretations, and took questions from those in attendance.

The final meeting was an action planning session held on August 15 in which participants reviewed best management practices for watershed management using TPP. Through a facilitated discussion, action steps were identified that combined ideas developed during the previous visioning session with locally generated goals and TPP best management practices. The results comprise the final outcome of the workshop, an account of public input on land use and water quality, and a set of community based actions that incorporate best practices for addressing community water quality and quantity challenges through a comprehensive plan.

The community visioning session was facilitated by Ohio Sea Grant and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant facilitators. The team employed a framework called PESTLE, which is used to consider a wide range of topics from business decisions to natural resource management initiatives. The strength of this approach is that participants are encouraged to think from six perspectives: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental.

Workshop

In this session, the PESTLE framework was coupled with the SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) method of appreciative inquiry. By focusing on strengths, assets, and opportunities, within the key topic areas of Land Use Planning and Open Space, Green Infrastructure and Stormwater, and Nutrients and Food Webs, program participants were able to identify what strengths exist in the community as well as what opportunities may be possible based on their existing assets. As the workshop progressed, participants rotated between table topics and were able to provide input on all of the workshop’s three key topic areas.

Workshop

In the second meeting, the steering committee and interested individuals from the earlier community visioning session were able to choose one of the three key workshop topics to investigate using the Tipping Point Planner (TPP) Decision Support System. In a facilitated session, participants were guided through a series of maps within the TPP, and were able to manipulate various parameters within the watershed related to nutrient loads, time, and land use. This provided an opportunity for participants to visualize how changes in their watershed related to land use and nutrient loading would affect not only water quality in their local streams and rivers, but also the Lake Erie food web. A structured discussion was facilitated based on questions developed for each of the program’s three key topic areas.

Program participants engaged in a final facilitated discussion centered on identifying action strategies for each topic area. Each group was asked to identify or generate three to five goals using the community input received from the previous community vision session as well as the data and maps provided within the TPP system. Participants were facilitated through a series of questions that assisted in identifying appropriate goals and action strategies in the TPP system. Each goal was accompanied by Best Management Practices including sample ordinances, plans, community practices, incentives, and education options that were chosen by the group, and which are included in the Appendix of this report. Responsible parties, timelines and action items were also developed.

The process documented in the final report reflects in-depth public engagement with the residents and civic leadership in Perrysburg, Ohio on land use planning, stormwater, and nutrient loading issues. Participants engaged with forecasting models and provided their vision for the future. Finally, the group selected goals and strategies to work toward implementation of its vision.

 

The process is not over; as shown in the final report, there are many things left to be developed and decided. It is the hope of Ohio Sea Grant and Illinois-Indiana that the community continue to collaborate on the development of their comprehensive plan and that it be inclusive or informed by the contents of this final report. Example strategies and ordinances—as well as sample plans—can be found in the appendix of the final report. These resources include digital links to websites, documents, and other tools to help establish these strategies for Perrysburg and the surrounding area.

Find more information on Tipping Point Planner here.

Visit the previous Tipping Point Planner blog article here.

View final Perrysburg, Ohio report and appendices here.


Joe LucenteJoe Lucente is an Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Community Development, Ohio Sea Grant College Program and OSU Extension.

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Growing Philanthropic Capacity in Your Community

A number of factors impact the sustainability of rural communities in Eastern Ohio. Some of the factors have a positive impact, and others provide a challenge. A challenge can lead to what we call at Ohio State University Extension-Community Development a teachable moment. Most recently, federal, state and county budgets have been tightened or money has been directed to different initiatives. This has become a teachable moment for OSU Extension-Community Development to grow philanthropic capacity in the community.

Raising Money

How did we do that and what does that mean for you? Two words come to mind….Capital Campaign. A capital campaign is an intense effort to raise significant dollars in a designated period of time for a one-time need, usually a structure or building. OSU Extension-Community Development has worked with the YMCA and Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center (SEORMC) in Guernsey County to advance their capital campaigns. These two campaigns will provide two new structures and buildings in the community.

The YMCA will have an additional 3,400 square feet of program space. The additional space makes it possible for 1,000 new members and 15 new classes for almost any age group from 2 years old through senior age adults. The SEORMC capital campaign will build a cancer center. The goal of the hospital is not just a cancer building but also supportive programs for those in treatment. These are two of several philanthropic initiatives in the community that will affect many individuals and families and contribute to the quality of life in the community.

If you are interested in building philanthropic capacity in your community, please contact OSU Extension-Community Development.


Cindy BondCindy Bond is an assistant professor and educator, community development (CD),  OSU Extension-Guernsey County.

 

The Relevance of Community Strategic Planning in Corporate Location Decision-Making

In recent years, many communities have been encouraged to invest in “greenfield” development sites as a way to attract large manufacturing and distribution operations. This is also taking place at a time when such businesses are changing the way they make decisions about where to locate and expand. These business decisions have far-reaching implications for communities. Some businesses may decide to visit and negotiate for community incentives; others may want to know what communities are doing to improve the business climate. However, these incentives alone may not secure a relocation or expansion project for the community. It is becoming apparent that businesses are also interested in the contents of a community’s strategic plan.

A community’s strategic plan might not seem important. However, when it considers things such as a community’s workforce, business attraction and retention approaches, and an integration of economic and community development, the plan can be very helpful in expediting the site selection process.

How can strategic planning help businesses decide where to locate?

Companies look for employees with experience in cutting-edge manufacturing, robotics, and other fields. A strategic plan enables community leaders to bring existing key business and educational institution leaders together to discuss each other’s needs and find solutions for them.

Community members participate in community strategic planning process

Community members share in the community strategic planning process.

Although attracting new businesses is a common economic development strategy, research indicates that about 80 percent of all new jobs in a community come from existing businesses. A strategic plan that takes into account the need to retain and expand a community’s existing businesses may indicate to potential new businesses that the community is dedicated to assisting its businesses to become more competitive.

Companies want to see how communities foster social and economic integration by the way they plan to address local issues such as housing, education, healthcare, and cultural diversity. They also want to see how all stakeholders — residents, community-based organizations, public agencies, and the private sector — work together to promote residents and community quality of life.

Fayette County, Ohio recently revised and updated its strategic plan to provide a vision and a vehicle for creating short- and long-term community and economic growth for residents and businesses in the community. The vision considered all the vital elements: workforce, business attraction and retention, and importance of integration of economic and community development. The community’s workforce plan involves implementing youth workforce programs, including a Manufacturing Day Tour and a Career Expo for high school students.

The community’s business retention and expansion strategies support and develop existing businesses. This pro-business attitude can add to the attractiveness of the community as an excellent environment for new businesses. Most importantly, the community has nearly 1800 acres of “greenfield” development acreage (1,600 acres for the county and 200 acres for the City of Washington Court House). These “greenfield” development sites have infrastructure, including utilities and water, available on site for investors seeking a business location.

Community strategic planning has helped in Fayette County. How might it help in your community?

Reference:

http://www.areadevelopment.com/corporate-site-selection-factors/Q4-2017/importance-of-community-strategic-planning-location-decision.shtml


Apaliyah, GodwinGodwin Tayese Apaliyah is an Extension educator in Fayette County.

Building Consumer & Producer Relations

It’s safe to say that during any conversation the notion of change will be brought up: “I remember when gas was only $1 a gallon.” “Most cars were standard transmissions, and now my car is going to drive ITSELF?” Some of us may or may not be familiar with these changes. But one change that affects us all is the change within our food. Whether you are a producer looking to stay afloat in a changing market or you are loading your cart up at the grocery store, we are ALL consumers.

handshake

If we are all consumers, then shouldn’t keeping up with changes in consumer demand be easy for producers? I mean, they can adapt right along with the market, right? Well, that may be the case if we all thought the same way and had the same preferences. Since there are numerous preferences and several production methods, how are consumers and producers supposed to be on the same page? Relationships. In a world where we can reach thousands of people via social media in a matter of minutes, everyone should know immediately when preferences shift and be able to adjust accordingly….well, not exactly.

Today, we are great at communicating, but how well do we converse? What’s the difference? On social media we communicate by displaying information about what we want or what we do, but this can leave that information open to different interpretations and lead to misconceptions about what consumers really want and what producers are actually doing. Sometimes this leads to more debate on who is right or wrong rather than allowing producers and consumers to work together. We all can do a better job of conversing to better understand each other’s ideas and practices. With so many different needs, ideas, and preferences, it may seem impossible to get everyone on the “same-page.” This is where Extension can play a huge role, and this is why I am so passionate about my job.

Recently, our team of Extension professionals has been conducting Beef Quality Assurance Trainings (BQA). I have been conducting these trainings with Brooke Beam of Highland County, Gigi Neal of Clermont County, and David Dugan of Adams County. At these trainings we converse about what consumer changes are developing and how we can meet those needs. We speak about practices that ensure producers can consistently provide a safe and wholesome product from start to finish. We also answer several questions about what consumers are wanting and what they are concerned about. A few Extension educators can’t answer all of the questions or tie up all of the loose-ends within the industry, but we give those who attend the ability to educate others and set good examples. Over the last three trainings we have trained close to 300 individuals.

cattle

Now that producers are being trained, how are consumers supposed to know what is going on within the industry and where their product is coming from? Just as a few educators cannot communicate with every producer, we cannot reach every consumer either. Companies such as Wendy’s and Tyson have helped serve as a voice for consumers by stating they will only accept beef from BQA certified producers. Wherever cattle are sold, producers will be able to prove they are BQA certified and follow the practices to provide a safe and high quality product. Consumers do not always get to meet the producer and discuss the product they are buying, but allowing everyone to become familiar with the guidelines of this certification will help bridge the gap between the unknown and serve as a common language for everyone. Even if several producers already implement these practices, the BQA certification can help pass on that information.

We are taking steps to build relationships in all areas of food production, not only within beef production. For example, in October the OSU Direct Food and Marketing Team along with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will be visiting Brown County to discuss how producers can enter various markets. They will share more about what consumers are looking for and how they can build relationships in several different markets.

As I talk about training producers to understand the needs of consumers, it is important too for us all to remember what I mentioned earlier. There are numerous preferences, and none is more right or wrong than another. There is no universal way to meet each other’s needs. This can only be understood through conversation. A group of Brown County families are making this happen after they formed the Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative. This group provides locally grown beef to several grocers in Brown County as well as direct to consumer. The cooperative members stay in contact with the consumers and raise their product based on the demands of the surrounding communities.

As I get to work with the various producers and consumers, I notice there is not a refusal to work together but a stockpile of questions and misconceptions. There will always be a few bad eggs in almost any situation, but the good will always outweigh the bad. You hear plenty about the bad and the division between one another, but even more are working together to build relationships. Just as the changes I referenced earlier didn’t happen over night, we cannot expect this change to be any different. The importance to discuss our needs is not to prove a point or win an argument, but to create a better situation for those we care about. It doesn’t matter if you are caring for the family you have around the table or the animal you tend to everyday. We are all consumers and we all care for one another.


James MorrisJames Morris is a County Extension Educator, Brown County.

Successful Collaborations: Three Rules and Lessons Learned from a Lima, OH Project

Definition of "collaborate"Few community development projects can succeed without funding support and—ideally, successful collaboration. In Lima OH, a group of university and public/private sector partners had been loosely formed based on a two-year pilot research project led by Knowlton School working with OSU Lima and the City of Lima Land Bank. By fall 2017, the group had expanded to include Extension among a team of university researchers representing three academic departments and a dozen community-based organizations, including the City of Lima Land Bank. The groundwork had been laid to move beyond the research phase of the project with the group coalescing behind a general plan to utilize vacant city-owned land for a food systems intervention project.

Collaborators

With a loose collaboration and a general project in mind, the group decided to seek out an OSU Connect and Collaborate grant to design and implement the project. The challenge had begun to organize and formalize a successful collaboration behind one project with very specific parameters. The research team started by inviting stakeholders back to the table to begin writing the grant and planning the implementation project. Over the next year, with the aim of congealing a collaborative group to reach consensus on the project, a location, and partner commitments, researchers followed three rules resulting in (mostly) success. Our general rules and lessons learned follow.

Rule #1:  Establish a communications plan.

At an initial October 2017 stakeholder meeting, we set the stage by establishing a communications plan, and sticking to it. After a review of the existing research project and an overview of the grant expectations, a communication plan was discussed and agreed to. The communications plan included regularly scheduled or as-needed face-to-face meetings that would be announced by e-mail at least a week ahead of time. The meetings would keep partners up to date with the grant process but also provide ample opportunities for input. They would be scheduled in the evening, include food and generally last two hours. An e-mailed summary of the meeting discussion and action steps would follow shortly after the meeting took place. One-on-one time was frequently needed with some partners to work through tasks or answer questions. Finally, partners expected full transparency about issues or concerns.

Rule #1 helped to build and retain trust among the collaborators. Trust was essential for partners to reach a consensus on the project. Lesson learned:  Partners are on the hook to attend every meeting, or send a representative. When one stops showing or communicating, anticipate a problem, then reach out to find out what it is and work to correct it. In one instance, our response to a no-show was slow, and we almost lost an important partner!

Rule #2:  Clarify expectations up front.

Anyone who has been involved with the Connect and Collaborate Grants Program knows that the program leverages university teams aligned with public/private sector partners to address challenges, and the partners have to be all in. So, rule #2, which applies to this grant or any successful collaborative project, requires teams to clarify expectations up front. Partners are expected to do more than just meet; they need to come up with what their organizations can commit to, whether it be matching funds, in-kind time, or other resources, and then put it in writing. This expectation is easier said than done. Partners need to know what is expected up front and be reminded along the way. No surprises!

Rule #2 kept everyone accountable and on task. Lesson learned: Verbal commitments can be different than written commitments, and the written ones are usually not as exciting! Get written commitments in draft form so they can be reviewed and agreed on before formalizing the final commitment. That is, give development of commitment letters more than a couple days at the end of a project…allow for at least a week or more.

Rule #3:  Be flexible, prepare for change and potentially, difficult discussions.

Even the most well laid out plan can (and will!) change, so teams must be flexible. 30 research team conference calls, 8 stakeholder meetings and 4 community events later, our project looked different, was located on a different site, included a new partner, and involved an entirely new component that took us down a new funding path.

Rule #3 made possible an improved project, stronger commitments and greater potential for sustainability. Lesson learned: Change doesn’t have to be a negative, it can actually help strengthen a project. In order to get there, though, difficult discussions had to take place and one partner was almost alienated entirely.


Nancy Bowen is an Associate Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics.

Get Habitattitude . . .

Habitattide

It’s a mouthful, but a very important concept for our aquatic natural resources. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are one of the biggest issues plaguing our waterways, altering ecosystems and costing billions of dollars annually across the globe. (Learn more about AIS by reading my previous blog Alien Invaders, and check out our fact sheet Aquatic Invasive Species in the Great Lakes.) They get to new locations in a variety of ways, but one major pathway is the pet and aquarium trade, including ponds and water gardens. If you have a hobby that involves aquatic animals or plants, be a responsible owner! Never release or allow these organisms to escape into our aquatic habitats.

Some real life examples from right here Ohio include:

-Goldfish- One of the world’s most popular pets, and one of the world’s most widespread invasives. Originally from eastern Asia, these attractive fish are cheap, hardy, and easy to find (or win at fairs). They often outlive their welcome, and unknowing owners may release them instead of disposing responsibly. In the wild they can grow to the size of a two-liter bottle, and are responsible for declines in many native fish, invertebrate, and plant species. They are found throughout North America, including all of Ohio.

Goldfish

This large specimen was caught in Cooley Canal near the new Howard Marsh Metropark in Lucas County during a wetland sampling project.

-Hydrilla- Animals aren’t the only thing that can be spread via release. Many plants used in aquaria are non-native, and some can be incredibly aggressive and easy to spread in a new environment. Hydrilla is one of those. It can reproduce vegetatively, meaning small fragments can be carried to new places and start new infestations. It forms thick mats that interfere with water intakes, clogs waterways used for recreation, and blocks sunlight from getting down into the water column. It likely established through aquarium release, but recreational activities have spread it through much of the U.S. In Ohio it is currently found in the Ohio River, Pymatuning Reservoir, and some Cleveland Metroparks waters.

Hydrilla

Hydrilla on outboard boat motor. (http://www.auburn.edu/~webbeec/limnology/hydrilla.htm) 

-Red swamp crayfish- This rather large crayfish native to the southern U.S. has been popular in the pet trade, for classroom study specimens, and as a food item. Each of these pathways has resulted in released animals, and the red swamp crayfish can cover relatively long distances over ground to invade new areas. They eat just about everything they can find, competing with native crayfish and many other wetland species. It’s now throughout much of the U.S. and has a patchy range throughout Ohio, unfortunately including my backyard.

Red swamp crayfish

A red swamp crayfish from my backyard, and it just wants a hug.

-Purple loosestrife- Water gardens are another potential AIS pathway, and this plant is a good example of a bad choice. It was brought to North America in the 1800s because of its brilliant purple flowers, but it soon took over wetland areas (again, including my backyard.) It’s prolific, and can reproduce vegetatively as well as producing millions of seeds each year. Like other AIS, it outcompetes native species and alters the ecosystems that it invades. If you have a water garden, wetland area, or similar, plant native species! We have some native plants that are just as attractive, and a natural part of the ecosystem. You can find some options from the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, or our fact sheet.

Purple loosestrife

A wetland amidst a purple loosestrife invasion. (By liz west (Flickr: loosestrife close) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Ohio Field Guide to AISThose are just a few examples of the many AIS we are dealing with in Ohio. If you’d like to learn more, you’re in luck! I recently partnered with John Navarro from the ODNR Division of Wildlife and our OSU Extension colleague Eugene Braig to develop the Ohio Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Species. It provides in-depth descriptions and range maps of 61 species of AIS of concern in Ohio, and tells you how to report them if necessary. If you find yourself in the field often, or know someone who is, please check it out. It can be a great tool to help us protect our aquatic resources.

And remember to get Habitattitude: Never release pets, plants, or bait into the environment!


Tory GabrielTory Gabriel is the Extension Program Leader & Fisheries Outreach Coordinator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Life Advice Still Resonates from Covey

I’ve been reflecting back to 2001, a time when I felt like I had a fairly good handle on life. I was college-educated, had a successful career, and a marriage partner who enjoyed volunteering in our church work, and helping me remodel our 90-year old farm house. (I also had a 1968 MGB-GT and a 1970 P-1800 Volvo in the barn!) Life was good.

Then, our first daughter was born. On that very day (while still in the hospital), I clearly remember coming to the realization that I knew absolutely nothing. I was frightened beyond belief. How could I possibly raise a child? What was I supposed to do when she cried?

That humbling moment drove me to learn all I could about parenting. Though several books helped, I soon discovered that other parents had great experiential knowledge and advice. And though the challenges change, whether in parenting or life in general, we can benefit by going back to the basics and listening to proven wisdom.

prioritiesI caught this article on the Forbes website a while back. It presented pertinent reminders for both work and home life. These are seven quotes from Stephen Covey that “have the power to completely change the direction of one’s life.” These are some of the basics that can help us through anything. I hope they will be helpful to you.

 

Covey’s Advice:

  1. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
  2. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
  3. Live out of your imagination, not your history.
  4. Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
  5. Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
  6. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
  7. You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”

References: Advice from Covey — Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/07/16/the-7-habits/


Brian Raison

Brian Raison is an Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community and Organizational Leadership.

Future of the U.S. Solar Industry

Chart 1: Import TarriffsIn January 2018, the United States established an import tariff on silicon solar cells and modules. These tariffs became effective on February 7, 2018 and will charge foreign producers 30% of the product’s value to enter U.S. markets. The tariffs will drop by 5% annually before expiring in 2022 (Chart 1). The first 2.5 gigawatts of solar cells are exempt from the tariffs (Duke SciPol, 2018). In addition to the solar module and cell tariffs, the U.S. recently announced a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% import on aluminum, which could add an additional 2%-5% to PV system costs (GTM Research, 2018).

According to Natter & Martin (2017) in Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the 30% tariff will increase photovoltaic (PV) solar module costs by roughly 10 cent/watt. Based on this estimate, the average module price would be around $0.41 per watt/DC which is still lower than the average module price in 2016 when the U.S. posted a record number of solar capacity installations. The impact of the import tariffs is expected to be more significant on the development of utility scale projects because the module cost accounts for an estimated 32% of the total utility scale solar installation cost. The impact is much less for other solar projects, as the module cost only accounts for 13% of residential installations and 19% of the commercial project (Chart 2).

Chart 2

Potential Implications

Now that the solar import tariffs are established, what are the implications to the solar manufacturers, installers, and consumers? “The tariffs could even the solar playing field from the perspective of manufacturing, but risk U.S. jobs in the solar installation and management industry while negatively impacting global trade agreements (Duke SciPol, 2018).” A tariff is essentially an additional tax applied to goods coming into a country in foreign trade. This will increase the price of the imported goods, thus protecting domestic manufacturers from unfair foreign competitive advantages such as low labor wages, dumping practices, or lower production costs due to lack of comparable environmental and safety regulations. In general, applying an import tariff to imported goods promotes domestic production and supports domestic employment. However, while a tariff can support domestic manufacturing, in some cases, a tariff can also increase the final price of the goods to consumers.

U.S. Solar Manufacturing Updates

Between 2012 and 2016, U.S. domestic PV solar module production expanded by 24 percent. Still, falling prices have caused more than 24 domestic PV producers to file bankruptcy or close their U.S. operations (Congressional Research Service, 2018). Following the implementation of the import tariffs, a 2018 Solar Industry Update Report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory summarized several examples of recent U.S. solar manufacturing activities. First, JinkoSolar confirmed plans to invest $50 million to build a 400 megawatt module assembly plant in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, SunPower announced plans to purchase the SolarWorld Americas manufacturing facility in Oregon which offers solar cell production capacity of 430 megawatts with an additional 500 megawatts of module capacity. Finally, due largely to recent U.S. tax reform, First Solar announced a $400 million investment in Ohio and recently broke ground on a 1.2-GW capacity plant, employing 500 workers to manufacture its new Series 6 modules.

U.S. Solar Installation Trends

solar arrayThe United States posted a record year for PV solar installations in 2016 reaching 14.8 gigawatts (DC) of installed solar capacity. Just a year later, the U.S. experienced a 30% decline in installations, with a total of 10.6 gigawatts (DC) of solar capacity additions in 2017 (USDOE/EERE, 2018). Following the 2018 import tariff on solar module and cell imports, the U.S. solar market added 2.5 gigawatts of PV solar in the first quarter 2018, representing annual growth of 13%. Furthermore, the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report estimates that “solar’s growth in 2018 will mirror 2017’s 10.6 GW before growing more robustly in 2019 and then accelerating in the early 2020s (Solar Energy Industries Association, 2018).”

What Should We Expect In 2018?

There have been numerous cases made both supporting and contesting the future impacts of the solar import tariffs on the U.S. solar industry. Based on recent installations and pricing trends, I would suggest the industry has proven it can not only survive, but thrive at higher module price points. Remember, in 2016 the U.S. solar industry posted a record number of capacity installations when solar module prices were higher than the estimated 2018 module prices including the impact of the additional 30% import tariff.

By definition, the tariff will absolutely increase the cost of imported solar modules. However, as described above it is a percentage-based tariff that is scheduled to decrease over time. In addition, the cost of solar modules has decreased significantly since 2010, a trend that is expected to continue. As a result, the impact on solar module prices should be the greatest in 2018, then decreasing each year as the actual price of solar modules continues to fall, combined with reduced tariff rates. While the import tariffs will likely reduce the number of utility scale projects, it is important to remember there are other factors affecting solar industry development. For example, state and local government policy and goals as well as utility rules and regulations will greatly influence the future development of renewable energy projects.        

Interested in Learning More About Solar? . . . Join Us at Farm Science Review!

The 2018 Farm Science Review (FSR) is September 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. Farm Science Review offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the latest agricultural innovations from experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

If you’re interested in learning more about photovoltaic solar energy and peak energy demand management on your farm, there’s a place just for you at Farm Science Review: Ohio State’s Energy Tent. Inside, you’ll find displays and information on solar energy, peak demand energy, anaerobic digestion (which turns food waste and manure, for example, into biogas), and biobased products and materials, like those made from soybeans and corn. CFAES experts will be on hand and available to answer your questions.

The OSU Energy Tent is located at the corner of Kottman Street and Land Avenue. For additional information, please click here to view the most up-to-date interactive map of the 2018 Farm Science Review exhibit area.

References:

Congressional Research Service. (2018, Feberuary ). Domestic Solar Manufacturing and New U.S. Tariffs. Retrieved from Federation of American Scientists: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IF10819.pdf

Feldman, D., Hoskins, J., & Margolis, R. (2018, May). Q4 2017/Q1 2018 Solar Industry Update. Retrieved from National Renewable Energy Laboratory : https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy18osti/71493.pdf

Duke SciPol. “Trump Administration’s Imposition of Tariffs on Imported Solar Cells and Modules” available at http://scipol.duke.edu/content/trump-administrations-imposition-tariffs-imported-solar-cells-and-modules  (03/23/2018).

Natter, A., & Martin, C. (2017). U.S. Solar Developers Relieved at Small Import Tariff Proposals. Retrieved from Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-31/u-s-trade-panel-proposes-duties-of-up-to-35-in-solar-case-j9frwy6w

Office of the United States Trade Representative. (2018). Section 201 Cases: Imported Large Residential Washing Machines and Imported Solar Cells and Modules. Washington D.C.: Executive Office of the President.

Pyper, J., 2018.  GTM Research Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Could Add 2 Cents per Watt to Utility-Scale Solar Projects. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/steel-aluminum-tariffs-could-add-2-cents-per-watt-to-utility-scale-solar#gs.oJRSsU4

Solar Energy Industries Association. (2018). Solar Market Insight Report 2018 Q2. Retrieved from Research and Resources: https://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-market-insight-report-2018-q2

Solar Energy Industries Association. (2018, June). US Solar Market Adds 2.5 GW of PV in Q1 2018, Growing 13% Year-Over-Year. Retrieved from Solar Energy Industries Association News Center: https://www.seia.org/news/us-solar-market-adds-25-gw-pv-q1-2018-growing-13-year-over-year

U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (USDOE/EERE). (2018, May). Quarterly Solar Industry Update. Retrieved from Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/quarterly-solar-industry-update

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (USDOE/EIA), (2018).  Tax credits and solar tariffs affect timing of projected renewable power plant deployment https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36212


Eric Romich

Eric Romich is an Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Energy Development.

You Want What/When?!

time managementOh no, there’s that email again reminding me that my blog is due! When will I find the time to write about what I do? Yes, I hear all of the many organized people out there thinking, “Here is a great candidate for Time Management training.” Been there-done that and actually did pick up some good pointers to help keep the many demands of life activities well organized. A few of these timely time saving tips follow:

Prioritize:  Each Friday afternoon, I review my workload (or at least the items I remembered to write down) and prioritize for the upcoming week. Then along comes Monday, and by noon that workload list has been completely disrupted by other more pressing emergencies. When trying to define activities as “important and urgent” as Stephen Covey recommends in his book First Things First, I find everything screams they are both urgent and important.

Assign a time for email: This is a great tip except for extremely optimistic people like me who believe we are just an email away from the one that will eliminate a task from our workload. What if I failed to open an email as soon as I got it and it was one of my colleagues asking if they could have the opportunity to write this week’s blog for me?!

Delegate: I’m a pro at this technique. The only problem is that the only person to delegate work to is myself. Let’s face it, delegating to someone who admittedly does not manage time efficiently is an inefficient strategy.

Multitasking doesn’t work: Certainly this must be a myth! If I do more than one thing at once, doesn’t that mean I’ll get more done? Susan Weinschenk, PhD, in an article in Psychology Today entitled “The True Cost Of Multi-Tasking,” reported that you can lose up to 40% productivity by multitasking. She advised that instead of multitasking, we are really task switching. Well, that explains why I never seem to make progress on my to-do list, and why it seems my mind is a constant stream of tumultuous thoughts.

Time flies when you are having fun:  Even though this may not be an actual time management skill, it helps keep in perspective your accomplishments versus your ability to manage both the internal and external daily chaos. Time spent pursuing a goal keeps us motivated and our minds occupied creating the sensation that time is passing quickly.

The time was allotted and the blog completed in a lighthearted manner. When you read it, I hope you enjoy what I have written and smile as you relate it to your life of pressures and deadlines.  While managing one’s time is important for productivity, of equal importance is the ability to enjoy life. I am blessed to have a rewarding job that allows my work to positively impact many lives. I hope you are as fortunate.


Darlene LukshinDarlene Lukshin is a Program Specialist for OSU Extension in Washington County.

Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Bi-Annual Symposium Scheduled for October 26

It’s time again for Cuyahoga River stakeholders, watershed stewards, and anyone else who is interested in the health of the Cuyahoga to get together and learn what’s happening in the Area of Concern (AOC) at the 2018 Cuyahoga River AOC Symposium! The Symposium provides a forum for sharing ideas, reviewing Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) status, showcasing successes and challenges, reviewing recent developments affecting the AOC program and strengthening linkages among state and local AOC participants.

Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC)

Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC)

Not only will we talk about all the progress that has been made in the Cuyahoga River watershed, but we’ll also hear from a panel of experts on new developments and future projects. There is a lot to celebrate this year, especially given that the United States Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the removal of “Degradation of Aesthetics” and “Public Access and Recreation Impairments” from the list of Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) in the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC). This suggests that aesthetics have improved dramatically in the decades since the Cuyahoga was named one of the 27 federally-designated U.S. waterways that have experienced severe environmental degradation. Public access and recreation have been helped by the development of trails, rowing clubs, fishing areas, boating and paddle sport amenities, and dining and entertainment facilities that now line the river banks.

Symposium attendees will have an opportunity to discuss all of the work being done to restore the river, to connect with a wide variety of partners and interested stakeholders, and to contribute to the progress being made. The Symposium will take place on Friday, October 26 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium. Registration is $35 per person and includes coffee, breakfast snacks and lunch, table talks, panels, and a whole lot of updates on how we’re getting closer every day to delisting the entire Cuyahoga River AOC.

Cuyahoga River AOC Advisory Committee

Cuyahoga River AOC Advisory Committee

For additional information, please visit the website for the AOC’s facilitating organization, Cuyahoga River Restoration and the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from Ohio Sea Grant and other organizations including nonprofit community groups, businesses, government agencies, and local residents concerned with the health of the watershed.


Scott Hardy is an Extension Educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.