October 26, 2016 Read More →

On the Blogs: Playing Politics With Renewables in Ohio

Samantha Williams for NRDC.org:

As we round the corner on the last few months of the year (and the final weeks that Ohio’s General Assembly will be in session), large multi-national companies are making clear that they want strong efficiency and renewable energy standards to be at the forefront of Ohio’s energy policy.

Back in 2014, lawmakers made the now-infamous decision to freeze the state’s wildly successful clean energy standards, which had been in place since 2009. Now, two years later, the results of the freeze are what you might expect, having become a cautionary tale for other states—and for Ohio’s next move on energy policy.

Just prior to the freeze, Ohio was #1 in renewable energy jobs, home to more companies that manufacture components for wind energy than any other state, and #2 in the U.S. for companies that make solar components. Investments in Ohio’s clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated over $160 million in annual GDP growth. Because of energy efficiency requirements, Ohio’s utilities were reporting over $1 billion in cumulative energy efficiency savings for consumers. And these clean energy investments were cost-effective; every $1 spent on energy efficiency saved all Ohio electricity customers more than $2 in power costs.

Ohio was on the right track.

But in the wake of the freeze (which was marketed by its sponsors as just a “gut check”), it became clear that clean energy  standards are the difference between continuing Ohio’s track record of success, or squandering it. Utility companies reduced services to customers, in some cases, suspending energy efficiency programs. One major electric company in Ohio cut its investment in energy efficiency in half, foregoing $70 million annually in potential benefits. Clean energy jobs moved out of state. Jobs in the state’s wind energy industry plummeted 56%Customers were left frustrated.

Full item: Ohio Businesses Urge Lawmakers To Thaw Clean Energy Freeze

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