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January 2019
A Message from the Director
Happy 2019! I hope your year is off to a good start and that everyone is sticking to their resolutions. GEO made some resolutions too: To find new ways to bring value to our members, to engage more energy advocates in our programming, and to broaden our base of support. 

One important avenue to broadening GEO’s base is through working with Ohio colleges and universities. Last fall GEO participated in senior sustainability classes at Denison University and Miami University. Thu Vo, at Denison, analyzed survey data to evaluate the Green Energy Ohio Tour and wrote an excellent report with recommendations for improvement. The Miami students took on two different projects -- one contacted student groups at colleges throughout Ohio to determine activities that GEO could provide for them – you’ll be hearing more about that later! The other group interviewed four leaders in the Ohio clean energy business community and wrote articles profiling the course of their careers. The first of those profiles – on John Seryak, written by Hallie Jankura – can be found under "Spotlight" below. Watch for another profile next month.

GEO is also adding a focus on climate change this year – beginning with a showing of the documentary film “The Human Element” in Athens on Wednesday, February 6.  And we are debuting a “Climate Book of the Month Club” so that everyone can become part of the conversation. Each month we will select a book on some aspect of climate change -- the first book is “Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island” by Earl Swift.  Please see more information below.

I’m very excited about the coming year and I look forward to sharing it with you!

Jane Harf
Executive Director
Efficiency Experts: Go Sustainable Energy’s Impact on Ohio
by: Hallie Jankura

An Ohio native, John Seryak received his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton before moving to the east coast to work for an energy consulting firm. In New England, Seryak found many young professionals, like him, working on issues of efficiency. At the age of 27, he noticed a lack of interest in energy efficiency in Ohio and began considering a return to his Midwestern roots. “For the most impact per hour of my time, I shouldn’t be in Boston where I’m a dime-a-dozen. I should be in Ohio,” Seryak said. As it turns out, his hometown knowledge gave him an edge in a market deeply in need of change.

Read the full story on our website.
In Other News...
AEP Ohio Petitions for the Right to Add Renewable Energy
AEP Ohio has plans to generate 900 MW of renewable energy, beginning with a 400 MW solar farm in Highland County. If approved, the combined project would be the largest solar energy installation in the state. The ambitious project is currently under review by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to determine if there is sufficient need for the additional generation to allow them to move forward.

Supporters of the project maintain that other factors should be given consideration in the permitting process as well, such as fuel diversity, carbon reduction, and Appalachian regional development. Large renewable energy projects such as this would create much-needed jobs in Southeastern Ohio. Furthermore, there is the potential for sustained economic growth, attracting companies to move or establish new operations in the region. The project AEP Ohio is proposing would be located about 40 miles north of two recently closed coal power plants.

AEP Ohio forecasts that consumers will save more than $200 million over a 20-year time period, in addition to benefits from a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and health benefits from reducing other pollutants that contribute to cases of asthma and respiratory disease.

The Ohio Power Siting Board will hold a local public hearing at Whiteoak High School in Mowrystown on March 19.
Climate Change Book Club
About the book: Many people don't realize that land in this country is already being lost to climate change. Tangier Island, Virginia is one of those places. The disruption of lives and livelihoods is profound, as Earl Smith has chronicled in "Chesapeake Requiem" and as we see in the documentary "The Human Element."

Tangier Island is a unique community. Mapped by John Smith in 1608 and settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of land is home to 470 people who live an isolated and challenging existence. Located twelve-miles offshore, Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats is the chief source of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, securing the island's reputation as the soft-shell crab capital of the world. Yet for all of its history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning that within the next twenty-five years Tangier will likely be among the first U.S. towns to succumb to the effects of climate change.
Our Ohio Partners
As wind energy continues to expand nationwide, Ohio is developing a strong network of supporters.

Northern Ohioans for Wind is a grassroots organization representing those who support renewable wind energy development in Northern Ohio. As part of the American Wind Energy Association's Power of Wind program, they emphasize the new investment, jobs, and tax revenue that wind installations generate for communities across Northern Ohio counties. You can visit their website for more information and follow them on Facebook.

The Cleveland Power of Wind Action Team has set three objectives for 2019: To reform Ohio’s wind turbine setback laws; to encourage more wind farm development in central Ohio; and to assist in the approval and funding for Icebreaker Wind in Lake Erie. They meet monthly at the Brooklyn branch of Cuyahoga County Library. For more information, please contact Thomas Schock at

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) is a public-private partnership leading the effort to build a sustainable offshore wind energy industry in the Great Lakes. LEEDCo is also a nonprofit member of Green Energy Ohio. LEEDCo's mission is to create a scalable source of renewable energy in Lake Erie; to create jobs and economic prosperity in the region; and to help clean our air and water resources. The first step is the Icebreaker Wind Project, a 20.7 MW demonstration wind farm that will consist of six 3.45 MW turbines located 8 miles north of Cleveland, Ohio. Icebreaker Wind will be the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America. Lake Erie is an ideal location for offshore wind, with ample available interconnect capacity, large load centers along the coast, and growing energy demand. Visit them online at their website and Facebook page.
Upcoming GEO Events
Join us as GEO co-hosts a screening of "The Human Element" on February 6th at 7:00 PM at the Athena Theater, in collaboration with the Ohio University Sustainability Film Series. The film will be followed by a panel discussion.
This visually rich documentary, blending art and science, follows renowned environmental photographer James Balog as he explores the impact of wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, air pollution, and coal mining on the lives of those directly affected. By exploring the front lines of climate change, The Human Element inspires us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world in our fight to save the planet. More information.
P.O. Box 521
Granville, Ohio 43023