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Proposed Clean Energy Repeal Threatens Job Losses

Ohio Environmental Council, January 23, 2014

Proposed Repeal of Clean Energy Standard Threatens Immediate Job Losses, from Napoleon to Newark

Senator Kris Jordan’s outlier effort would put Ohioans out of work today

Columbus, OH – Legislation proposed this week by State Senator Kris Jordan (R-Powell) could cripple one of the fastest growing sectors of Ohio’s economy—the clean energy sector.

The Jordan proposal, Ohio Senate Bill 216, would repeal Ohio’s clean energy standard which requires major utility companies to supply at least 12.5% of the electric power sold in Ohio by 2025 to come from renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and other clean energy sources. A separate but parallel standard requires a like amount of power to originate from “advanced” energy sources, including lowered-emission coal, advanced nuclear and solid waste, fuel cells, or co-generation.

Current state law also includes an Ohio “carve-out,” requiring that at least half of the renewable power must originate from electric power sources located within the state, guaranteeing that the clean energy standard puts Ohioans and not citizens of other states to work. While coal continues to supply the vast majority of Ohio’s electric power, nearly two-thirds of it is imported from Wyoming and other states.

“Thanks to the strong renewable energy policy and a highly skilled workforce, Ohio is quickly establishing itself as a worldwide leader in the clean energy economy,” said Brian Kaiser, Director of Green Jobs and Innovation for the Ohio Environmental Council.

“Ohio is the second largest solar manufacturer in North America, due to the very law that Senator Jordan wants to repeal. His decision to attack one of the few parts of Ohio’s economy that is working is a direct assault on all Ohioans who care about job growth and the environment.”

Clean energy advocates are baffled by the strange, outlier legislation.

“In his effort to repeal Ohio’s clean energy standard, the sponsor is looking to kill the one part of Ohio’s economy that is working.  We believe that once he researches the extraordinary success of the clean energy industry in Ohio he’ll withdrawal this short-sighted, ideologically-driven legislation.”

Lawmakers approved Ohio’s clean energy standard by 125-1 margin in 2008. The standard was part of a larger bill restructuring Ohio’s electric retail marketplace, proposed by former Gov. Ted Strickland. The General Assembly, as today, was controlled by Republicans at the time.

“Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass Ohio’s standard on a 125-1 vote,” said Kaiser. “Ohio is beginning to enjoy the jobs and economic dividends of that effort. Maybe that’s why Senator Jordan could muster only two co-sponsors for his bill from the 33-member Ohio Senate. But it doesn’t explain why the Senator wants to kill this emerging Ohio industry.”

Clean energy manufacturing and supply was the only sector of Ohio’s economy that grew, rather than shrank, through the recession. Industries that support these standards, such as clean energy manufacturing, supply, and electricity generation are the fastest growing sectors of Ohio’s economy, and are growing jobs by the thousands in Ohio every year.  Ohio clean energy standard has been a job-creation model for the Midwest.

As a direct result of Ohio’s clean energy standard and other clean job growth policies:

– American Electric Power and Turning Point Solar are developing a massive solar installation located on reclaimed coal mine land in Muskingum and Noble counties in eastern Ohio. The 50 megawatt project, enough energy to power 30,000 homes, is creating over 600 jobs and likely will result in two solar manufacturers opening facilities in Ohio. A brand-new manufacturing facility is planned for Napoleon in northwest Ohio and would put hundreds to work in a region that needs jobs.

“Senator Jordan’s legislation would ensure that these jobs disappear, overnight,” said Kaiser.

– There are 7,500 workers currently employed by wind industry suppliers in Ohio and 1,500 direct solar manufacturing jobs in Ohio. Ohio has 106 companies engaged in the wind supply chain and 63 companies in the solar supply chain. In the fall of 2010, construction began on the Blue Creek Wind Farm in Paulding and Van Wert counties. Currently, the project is employing 300 constructions jobs and 18 Ohio companies are supporting the effort. When completed the farm will have 159 wind turbines and generate 350 megawatts of power.

If Senator Jordan’s irresponsible effort is successful, Ohio can say goodbye forever to wind power installations and wind energy manufacturing jobs,” said Kaiser.

– Every year, Ohio loses more jobs in the traditional dirty energy industry, especially in the coal mining industry. By contrast, Ohio’s clean energy industry is growing – fast. Ohio has over 35,000 jobs in the clean energy industry; already far more than are in Ohio’s shriveling coal sector. Currently there are over 2,500 clean technology businesses; the number continues to grow, because of Ohio’s clean energy law and other policies.

“For some reason, the Senator wants to double down on the old, shrinking energy sectors of the past. His proposed repeal would ensure that other states across the nation capitalize on clean energy, leaving Ohio tied to old technology and old sources of energy that are losing, not growing jobs,” said Kaiser.