Ohio Set to Be First State to Freeze Successful Clean Energy Standards

Statement by Steve Frenkel, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Published May 30, 2014


CHICAGO (May 30, 2014) – Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) is poised to sign legislation, SB 310, that will stop progress towards achieving Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years, with the intent to further roll back the standards at that time. 

Since the standards were enacted in 2008, renewable energy has nearly tripled in Ohio, and the state now ranks eighth in the nation for solar jobs. Energy efficiency programs have already helped Ohioans save millions of megawatts of electricity and millions of dollars on electricity bills, while creating thousands more jobs. The state’s transition away from its overdependence on coal and natural gas with these standards has left it at less risk of electricity price spikes while improving reliability and reducing harm to the environment and public health.

Despite claims by proponents of the bill that the standards lead to high costs for consumers, analysis of utilities’ own reports show energy efficiency programs save Ohioans $2 for every $1 invested. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimate the annual cost of meeting Ohio’s renewable energy standard accounts for less than 1 percent of utility bills. Other research shows the upfront cost of installing wind and solar is offset in part by downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices resulting from savings on fossil fuels.

Below is a statement by Steve Frenkel, Midwest office director for the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Governor Kasich is poised to sign legislation that goes against the best interests of Ohio. The benefits and cost-effectiveness of Ohio’s clean energy standards are well documented by numerous independent analyses. By freezing Ohio’s clean energy standards, the governor is putting Ohio’s economy, environment, and public health at risk by clinging to the state’s overdependence on fossil fuels.

“Similar attempts to roll back clean energy standards have wisely been rejected in 18 states, including Ohio just last year. If Governor Kasich signs this bill, Ohio will have the dubious distinction as the lone state to take this giant leap backwards instead of leading the way toward a cleaner, lower-cost, and more reliable 21st century electricity system. The idea that Ohio can pause on its clean energy economy without sacrificing these benefits defies logic. 

“If this bill becomes law, it will compromise Ohio’s ability to tap into renewables and efficiency to cost-effectively meet the EPA’s upcoming carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. The only beneficiaries will be fossil fuel and utility interests that want to avoid responsibility for cleaning up carbon pollution. Unfortunately, it’s the average Ohioan that will pay the price for Governor Kasich and the Ohio legislature giving in to pressure from those interests.”   

For more information about this issue, please visit our blog: http://blog.ucsusa.org/tag/ohio