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Denying FirstEnergy’s power purchase agreement would leave Ohio’s regulators three-for-three

William M. Bowen is professor of public administration and urban studies at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

William M. Bowen is professor of public administration and urban studies at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

CLEVELAND — “The importance and value of distributed generation, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency has, for a variety of reasons, now become more crucial than ever. Thus, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act requires something on the order of a 5.4% increase in the efficiency of the state’s coal plants, an 8.7% increase in zero-emitting power sources (such as nuclear and renewables), and a 9.4% reduction in electricity demand achieved by using electricity more efficiently.

But, rather than planning and deliberating upon an energy strategy that so much as contemplates the option of helping to bring the state’s energy system more in line with national priorities, Ohio lawmakers last year enacted Senate Bill 310 — a law which moves the state in exactly the opposite direction. SB 310 assaults renewables, demolishes efforts to decrease demand for electricity through more efficient use, and supports the continued use of low efficiency coal plants by utilities.

Indeed, sometimes Ohio energy policy contains so many imperfections and inconsistencies that it seems to be almost a miracle when anyone in a position of institutional leadership and authority makes sense of it, and responds to it all intelligently.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, however, did so again last week, much to their credit. They denied the second of the three Ohio utility’s recent and pending proposals for ratepayers to subsidize obsolete and inefficient coal plants.

Good job PUCO!”

— William M Bowen, guest column, Crain’s Cleveland Business

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