For years Ohio’s lack of a comprehensive, long-term energy policy has harmed our economy and our health by continuing our reliance on burning coal for electricity. Now we finally have a chance to move forward.
During a 2-year legislative “freeze” on our energy efficiency and renewable energy progress, utility companies gamed the system, demanding that customers subsidize their old, outdated coal and nuclear plants, instead of investing where the energy market is headed. This must stop – and our recent victories prove that citizen involvement is the key to the cleaner, safer energy future we all want.
In 2016, Ohio Citizen Action members and allies succeeded in reinstating mandatory state renewable and energy efficiency standards that will improve air and water quality, reduce health effects from burning coal, stimulate green energy development and jobs and save customers money. We also stopped FirstEnergy and American Electric Power from receiving billions of ratepayer dollars in “bailouts” of their oldest and dirtiest coal plants.
We’ve committed all our resources to this effort because we believe the transition to clean energy is the most important environmental and consumer work we could be doing in Ohio right now. This is the time for our voices to be heard. Here is where we are headed:
Continuing our choice of electric provider, saving money on electric bills
Your ability to choose your electric provider and the option for communities to form electricity buying groups have saved customers billions of dollars since 2000.
They also have hurt coal-dependent utilities that can’t compete with cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Those utilities now seek to attack community choice and aggregation in the legislature at our expense and we must stop lawmakers from backpedaling on this critical issue.
Resetting our wind setback law
In 2014, the legislature slipped into the budget bill a provision to change the required setbacks for wind turbines from the nearest house to 1,300 feet from the nearest property line. This move effectively killed new wind development and was done without public input. We must remove this barrier to future wind
Strengthening our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards
The standards originally passed in 2008 required utilities to produce or purchase at least 12.5% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025. While Ohio chose to freeze progress toward that goal for two years in 2014, the rest of the nation continued to advance. For example, U.S. corporations increased their renewable energy use by 275% from 2014 to 2015.
Now that the freeze is over – a great victory– we must work to modernize and strengthen these standards. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) indicates that Ohio has the capacity to meet 25% of our electricity needs through renewables – double the current standard – if investments are made now.
Energy efficiency programs created by these standards saved customers $1.03 billion in just the first five years. They also created thousands of jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency and spurred clean energy investment in Ohio (Source: OSU analysis).
With the original standards back in place, we have a great foundation to make Ohio a clean energy leader and create good jobs, a more efficient economy, and cleaner air and water for our state.
Providing a just transition for workers from coal to clean energy
As we transition from burning coal, we must work to provide training and jobs for workers that might otherwise lose on the on the deal. State policies that create new clean energy jobs and provide training for existing coal and utility workers must be part of our plans moving forward.
What Can You Do?
-Write a letter to your legislators. Letters are most effective when they’re written in your own words. Please tell our elected officials why you support clean energy in Ohio. You can find your legislators by clicking here or text your zip code to 520-200-2223.
Here are some points to get you started:
- I want Ohio’s leaders to support clean energy job growth and investments in renewables and efficiency
- Ohio should be a leader in clean energy so that we can build a sustainable economy and healthy environment for future generations
- It’s time to move away from outdated coal and nuclear plants and invest in clean energy while supporting a just transition for Ohio’s energy workers
-Use the free Postcard website to upload a picture from Facebook or your computer and write a message in support of Ohio clean energy. Your photo is turned into a postcard and then mailed to Governor Kasich’s office. We get copies too to post on our website and social media.