Environmental groups are worried that Ohio’s developing clean-energy programs will be squelched under legislation a Republican lawmaker has introduced.
The proposal to repeal Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard by State Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, is “an awful and economically destructive piece of legislation,” said Nolan Moser , energy program director for the Columbus-based Ohio Environmental Council.
Jordan’s proposal “could cripple” one of the fastest-growing sectors of Ohio’s economy, he said.
Wind and solar projects planned for Ohio would be scrapped and jobs would be lost, said Brian Kaiser, director of green jobs and innovation for Moser’s group.
In Senate Bill 216, Jordan wants to repeal Ohio’s clean-energy standard that requires major utility companies to supply at least 12.5 percent of their electricity by 2025 from renewable sources, including wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and other clean-energy means.
Utilities must also get an additional 12.5 percent from such advanced energy sources as low-emission coal, advanced nuclear and solid waste, and fuel cells.
Ohio’s rules also require utilities to generate at least half of that renewable energy from within the state.
In 2008, Ohio lawmakers approved the clean-energy standard by a 125-1 vote. It was part of a larger bill restructuring Ohio’s electric retail market, proposed by former Gov. Ted Strickland and approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Most of Ohio’s energy now comes from electricity generated by burning coal.
“With one of the worst recessions in recent memory still fresh in our minds, the last thing we need to do in Ohio is drive up the cost of energy for both Ohio families and Ohio businesses, and that’s exactly what the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard does,” Jordan said.
He pointed to a study by the Massachusetts-based Beacon Hill Institute that says the standard would cost Ohioans nearly $9 billion in added energy costs from 2016 to 2025 and eliminate nearly 10,000 jobs. A typical household would pay $123 a year in higher energy costs; the typical business, nearly $52,000 a year in added costs, the analysis says.
On the campaign trail, Gov. John Kasich had expressed support for the standard but also has voiced concern about higher energy costs.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or email@example.com.