Ohio Environmental Council, February 28, 2013
On February 1, Ohio State Senator William J. Seitz, chair of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, issued a memo to interested parties asking for input on discussion topics as his committee begins “a meaningful review of the energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standard issues last addressed by Senate Bill 221 in 2008 and Senate Bill 315 in 2012.”
Senator Seitz’s preliminary list of nine discussion topics included questions that could lead to sweeping changes in Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws – the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS).
These standards require Ohio’s electric utilities to gradually increase the amount of electricity they generate from renewable resources (RPS) and how much of their customers’ demand for electricity is met through energy efficiency (EERS).
First and foremost, Senator Seitz’s memo asks whether the gradually escalating annual efficiency targets should be frozen, given changes in the economy that have occurred since 2008 when the standards were established.
Further, the memo questions the cost of implementation of the renewable portfolio standard, and whether the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has appropriately interpreted the laws on the books.
Lastly, Senator Seitz asks for input from stakeholders about what should be done to protect energy contracts “in the event that the current EE/RPS benchmarks are significantly altered or abolished.”
The Ohio Environmental Council was one of many who responded to Senator Seitz’s memo, reinforcing our strong support for Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws area boon to consumers, the environment, and the economy.
The OEC’s response centered around several points:
Weakening or “freezing” Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards would be bad for the environment, bad for the economy, bad for Ohio jobs and bad for ratepayers.
This spring, Senator Seitz will be holding a series hearings to explore the topics and questions raised in his memo. He then plans to introduce legislation that will most likely propose changes – for better or worse – to Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws.
Check back for updates on how these hearings proceed, and how you can speak up for Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency standards.