“Governor Kasich’s announcement that he will sign the bill (Senate Bill 310) that guts Ohio’s clean energy standards is an about face of his own energy policy and a regrettable decision that will cost Ohioans more on their utility bills, increase toxic air pollution, and drive private investment out of Ohio communities.
“We are struggling to reconcile Governor Kasich’s previous support for an ‘all of the above’ energy policy with his apparent support for a bill that equals Ohio’s retreat from viable, cost-effective and clean resources that have proven benefits for consumers and the environment.
“Just two years ago, Gov. Kasich asked lawmakers to actually expand Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency standards to promote one of his signature accomplishments – encouraging more cogeneration technologies by allowing them to qualify as renewable and/or efficiency resources. Absent the force of law, utilities will have no motivation to help manufacturers reduce electric costs and become more self-sufficient.
“Supporters of SB 310 claim that Ohio’s clean energy standards are unaffordable and unattainable. In fact, just the opposite is true. According to several respectable studies, including utility company data submitted to the PUCO, since Ohio’s clean energy standards took effect 6 years ago, Ohioans have been enjoying tremendous benefits:
Cleaner air: 1 million tons of greenhouse gases, 40,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (causes acid rain, particle pollution), 9,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (causes ozone smog), and 1,000 pounds of mercury (a potent toxin) are being prevented each year, just by the efficiency standard.
Consumer savings: Utilities have reported more than $1 billion of customer savings on electric utility bills.
Jobs and investment: 25,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment in the green energy sector.
“Contrary to the reassuring tone of yesterday’s statement by the Governor’s office, the final bill as approved by the General Assembly did not land ‘at the right spot’ for Ohio and does anything but assure that Ohio will ‘move forward in a balanced way.’ Rather, Governor Kasich’s anticipated approval of this recklessly imbalanced legislation will not simply ‘freeze’ but all but annihilate clean energy standards. Governor Kasich’s signature on SB 310 will, by law:
Permanently repeal the ‘Buy Ohio’ requirement that at least half of all utility-scale, wind and solar and other qualifying renewable energy projects are developed in Ohio. Along with the uncertainty of a “freeze,” this will guarantee that no new utility-scale renewable energy projects will be constructed in Ohio.
Enable hydroelectric power plants of any age to qualify for Ohio’s renewable energy standard. This will flood Ohio with old hydro, devaluating Ohio’s marketplace for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
Allow large industrial customers to automatically opt out of Ohio’s energy efficiency standard with an unenforceable pledge that they will undertake their own efficiency efforts. This will result in less efficiency being accomplished and will deny consumers the price suppression benefits currently enjoyed by all customers.
Allow electric utility companies to count bogus energy efficiency towards their compliance with Ohio’s efficiency standard – bogus efficiency that does nothing to reduce energy waste for electric customers. This will not assure any real new or additional energy efficiency that utilities would not otherwise undertake and it will deliver no savings on the consumer side of the meter.”
“Considering Gov. Kasich’s supportive posture for clean energy–indeed, the JobsOhio website boasts about Ohio’s wind and solar industries–we can only conclude that the Governor’s staff has been misled about the true impact of SB 310. Governor Kasich still has time to stand by his energy policy and reject SB 310. The Ohio Environmental Council calls on him to do just that.”