Relying on fossil fuels - such as coal, oil, and natural gas - leaves our communities at risk from the processes of resource extraction, storage, and burning. Coal leaves a legacy of harming our water supply and precious land, and can severly impact our communities.
Fossil fuels are a finite resource that we should transition away from and to more sustainable sources. The Ohio Environmental Council takes a practical approach to fossil fuel use and the transition to cleaner sources of energy.
Ohio’s Energy Mix
Ohio generates 84% of its electricity from coal. However, the vast majority of the coal burned in Ohio is imported from other states.
According to the National Mining Association, Ohio ranks 4th in the nation in coal use, but 11th in the nation in coal production. In 2009, Ohio utilities spent $1.49 billion to import low-sulfur coal from other states to fill this gap.
At the same time, Ohio benefits from great natural resources within the state that can be harnessed for energy. Though renewables like wind, solar and biomass only met a small percentage of Ohio’s energy mix today, they are the fastest growing resource and have the potential to thrive.
Thus, Ohio’s reduction in coal use means Ohio dollars staying in the local economy and less Ohio dollars going out of state for energy.
For nearly five years, OEC and its colleagues from Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Ohio Citizen Action fought to stop the economically dicey and environmentally risky proposed AMPGS coal-fired power plant in Meigs County.
In November 2009, the developer of the plant, AMP-Ohio, revealed it will abandon its plans to build the massive 960 MW coal plant near Letart Falls. According to the company’s statement, the change in course was the result of an unexpected 37% increase in the cost to build the 1,000-megawatt plant, which was last estimated at $3.25 billion.
However, the demise of the plant is not complete.
AMP-Ohio has plans to continue the construction it began on the coal plant, but build a Natural Gas Combined Cycle plant in its place, proposed to go on line in 2014.
OEC will be closely monitoring the developments of this plant, and will continue to push AMP-Ohio to reconsider its fossil fuel focus, and deliver more clean energy to Ohio.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the use of sand, water, and chemicals injected at high pressures to blast open shale rock and release the trapped gas inside. Horizontal hydraulic fracking is just like it sounds: after the well drill reaches a certain vertical depth in the ground, the well is then drilled horizontally.
As with any industrial activity, the development of oil and gas involves risks to air, land, water, wildlife and communities.
The oil and gas drilling industry argues that horizontal fracking is safe because it has been has been around for 40 years, but that is not correct.
While the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill vertical wells has been around that long, horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing is very new and only began in Ohio in 2011.