The Rotary Club of Hudson, during its five August meetings, learned from energy companies and government presenters about the critical issues facing energy suppliers and consumers.  
Senator John Eklund, Ohio 18th District                    David Zelasko and Michael Smucker, Third Sun Solar                                      Tony Ramos, NOPEC     
                                                      Craig Sundstrom, Apex Clean Energy                                                  Doug Colafella, First Energy                                               
Major themes addressed were: the competing sources of energy, the economics of diverse sources, the need for renewable sources and government regulations and subsidies. All forms of energy were discussed including coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind.
The speakers in order of appearance and major points made were:
  • Tony Ramos, Northern Ohio Public Energy Co., a non profit energy retail aggregator in 219 Ohio communities that has saved consumers over a half billion dollars or approximately six percent per year. NOPEC offers online tracking of household energy usage and gives money back to subscriber communities for public service projects.
  • David Zelasko and Michael Smucker, Third Sun Solar, that represents the USA’s fastest growing energy source. Solar energy is used by major universities and various businesses. Home usage is growing as costs have dropped one hundred fold since 1975 and the average home installation of $20,000 can be recovered in 8 years. Unused energy can be credited back to the electric utility company and there is currently a 30% tax credit for the installation costs.
  • Craig Sundstrom, Apex Clean Energy, whose wind power provides over 10% of the total energy in 14 states, but only 1% in Ohio. Proposed Ohio legislation will raise that number to 12% in the future. The primary wind installation issue is restrictive property setbacks that must be addressed. Wind power will be the only energy source not dependent on government subsidies if, as expected, the subsidies aren’t renewed two years from now.
  • Doug Colafella, First Energy, that relies on a balanced mix of energy sources to service consumers. Ohio’s industrial usage of energy is behind only Texas and California in the USA and natural gas represents the greatest growth for Ohio. Nuclear plants in Ohio generate $524 million for the economy, provide 4300 jobs and are environmentally desirable, but are under constant scrutiny by the public and legislature. A balanced energy policy is needed.
  • Senator John Eklund, Ohio 18th District, stated that energy policy is one of the major factors affecting the Ohio economy, but a challenging area in which to develop policy. He explained that energy competition on the wholesale level represents a construct that dictates supply and price and doesn’t recognize the other attributes of various energy sources. The development of shale gas as a source has contributed to an Ohio balanced budget and reduced unemployment. Senator Eklund feels that Ohio needs a balanced and diverse energy supply including wind and solar that currently need legislative support to remain viable.
For information regarding future speakers and discussion themes, please consult our website
The Rotary Club of Hudson members strive to place Service Above Self and invite you to join us in enhancing our community.