Coal takes a back seat to cheaper and plentiful natural gas in Ohio

A drilling rig in Columbiana County

COLUMBUS — “Twenty-five years ago, Ohio was a place where plentiful coal led to low electricity rates, and almost nobody was talking about getting oil or gas from shale. The state’s utility companies were shielded from competition thanks to a price regulation and monopoly service.

And all of that was about to change, although in fits and starts.

Ohio’s energy landscape today has been shaped by two big developments. First was deregulation of utility service in the 1990s, with natural gas followed by electricity, moves that took years of implementation but have clearly left their mark. Second were advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the 2000s, which later allowed energy producers to extract vast amounts of oil and gas from beneath Ohio.

The upshot is that gas is now plentiful and inexpensive, and Ohio companies are learning to adjust to a dramatically different set of rules.”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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