Energy / Freeze on Clean Energy

Ohio’s manufacturers on both sides of debate over energy efficiency and renewable energy


COLUMBUS — “When the bill arrives on his desk, the key question then, critics of the bill say: Will Kasich be willing to become the first governor — to agree with a national campaign by conservative groups  — and cripple both his state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards or to sit by without his veto pen while lawmakers do it?

Backers of the bill would phrase it differently: Will Kasich take the necessary step to loosen energy mandates that are strangling the economic recovery?

Current law requires that 12.5 percent of the electricity a power company sells by 2025 to have been generated by wind, solar or other renewable means. The law also requires power companies to have helped customers reduce consumption by 22 percent by 2025, compared to 2009 consumption levels. The bill would not prevent increased power consumption from natural growth, such as the opening of a new production plant.

As approved last week by the Senate and now pending in the Ohio House, Senate Bill 310 would simply freeze all mandates through 2016 while lawmakers study the issues.

But last-minute language changes in the bill before the Senate’s early Thursday morning approval a week ago contain a series of ‘poison pills,’ say opponents, designed to halt wind and solar for good and stymie further customer energy efficiency programs while enabling utilities to get paid extra for upgrades they already have to make.

‘Substitute SB 310 is vastly different from – and much more damaging to Ohio’s advanced energy industry and consumers – than even the original bill,’ said Ted Ford, president and CEO of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, in a statement accompanying an analysis. ‘It’s unfortunate that the Senate fielded no public testimony on this version of the bill.'”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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