Clean energy is working in Ohio but may come to a halt after 2014

green-usa-8542220Ohio utilities admit that clean energy standards are saving money. In filings to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the power companies admit energy efficiency programs alone have netted Ohio consumers more than $1 billion in savings to date, and will result in more than $4.1 billion in savings over the program’s life.

Ohio utility American Energy Power (AEP) argued energy efficiency “is an important resource for the state of Ohio, AEP Ohio, and its customers, continuing to be important as future fuel and commodity prices remain volatile and environmental regulations become more stringent.”  Even First Energy, the leading proponent of S.B. 310, admitted that for every $1 spent on energy efficiency programs, its customers save over $2.

The standards, in fact, are advancing competition and providing consumers with choices about what forms of energy they can purchase. What S.B. 310 advocates are doing is strangling that competition and choice.

They also are hurting Ohio consumers. According to calculations by professors at Ohio State University (OSU), the proposed scuttling of the state’s clean energy laws would force the average Ohio family to pay over $500 more on their electricity charges, and the average business would pay an additional $3,000 annually.

OSU also found that existing clean energy laws have helped 400 companies grow and employ 25,000 Ohioans. The standards have attracted more than a billion dollars of private-sector investment, helping make the Buckeye State the nation’s leader in wind-related manufacturing.

What’s SB 310?

SB 310 is an amendment to 2008 legislation in Ohio requiring the state to acquire 12.5% of its energy portfolio from renewables and to reduce energy consumption by 22% through energy efficiency measures by 2025. The bill would freeze any additional energy efficiency or renewable energy mandates in Ohio after 2014.

SB 310 has already passed the Ohio Senate and is expected to enter the House within the next week, and promises to end the state’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and energy efficiency directives.

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