Ohio generates approximately 59% of its electricity from coal, 24% from natural gas, about 13% from nuclear, 2% from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower, and about 1% from oil.
Relying on fossil fuels to produce electricity– such as coal, oil, and natural gas – leaves our communities at risk from the processes of resource extraction, storage, and burning. Coal, in particular, has left a legacy of harming our water supply and precious land, and can severely impact our communities. And because the power sector is responsible for approximately 40% of carbon pollution nationwide, coal-fired power plants are a primary contributor to global climate change.
The Ohio Environmental Council works to the transition the power sector away from fossil fuels, and towards to cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy.
Clean energy is the best and most viable alternative to fossil fuels due to the sharp decline in the costs of these technologies, and the increasingly commonplace nature of investments in clean energy by major corporations, cities, and utilities.
Clean energy, defined broadly, is an energy resource that meets the demand for electricity without producing any air emissions. This could be a technology that generates electricity through the harnessing of naturally occurring forces such as the blowing wind, the shining sun, or the flow of water. It can also be energy produced by capturing use-it-or-lose it resources such as waste heat (that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere from landfill gas or yard and tree clippings).
Clean energy resources differ greatly from fossil fuels because they pollute much less than these finite sources. Air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, mercury, methane, or particulate matter harm human health in serious ways.
Opting for clean energy resources reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and methane pollution, thereby mitigating these harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Additionally, encouraging the electrification of our transportation system that can operate on renewable resources, also helps to reduce byproducts like ash, brine, and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids that, if not disposed of properly, can damage land and pollute streams and rivers.
The OEC’s clean energy program focuses on mitigating climate change, transitioning the electric sector away from fossil fuels, empowering customers to make more sustainable choices, and improving the safeguards for water, land, air, and people living near oil and gas operations. The OEC advances better energy policies by engaging the Ohio legislature, state agencies and regulators, and by pushing back on powerful special interest lobbyists attempting to slow or stop Ohio’s path towards a cleaner energy future.