AEE and Ohio AEE React to Ohio Senate Vote Today
Weakening the State’s Energy Standards
Ohio lawmakers pass extension of freeze on renewable energy and energy efficiency requirements despite Gov. Kasich’s promise of a veto, say these business groups
[Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 2016]— Today, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association, and Ohio Advanced Energy Economy (OAEE), AEE’s state partner in Ohio, released the following statements after the Ohio Senate vote passing Substitute House Bill 554. The Bill would further weaken the state’s energy standards by turning the requirement for utilities to purchase renewable energy and invest in energy efficiency into voluntary goals, with no compliance obligations, through 2020. The final vote was 18-13 falling short of the required votes for a veto override.
“Today, after a two-year freeze on money-saving energy efficiency and job-creating renewable energy, the Ohio Senate decided to kick the can down the road some more. This bill will not provide Ohio with a comprehensive solution, but rather continue the stance of inaction in preparing for future energy needs,” said J.R. Tolbert, vice president for state policy at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “We are encouraged by the Governor’s repeated promise to veto a freeze extension that is bad for business and bad for Ohio.”
“Ohio is losing its competitive advantage, pushing businesses to neighboring states. Uncertainty prevents businesses that employ 100,000 Ohioans from developing long-term investment strategies within the state,” said Ted Ford, president of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy (Ohio AEE). “Continuing the freeze without understanding the impacts it will have on Ohio’s competitiveness and reputation is a mistake.”
“Through the Advanced Energy Economy Institute’s modeling, we’ve been able to demonstrate that a combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and natural gas is the lowest cost way for Ohio to meet its ongoing energy demand while ensuring ratepayers aren’t left covering the bill for future cost increases,” added Tolbert. “Lawmakers are opting to turn down $3.3 billion in savings for the state and $192 in annual savings for the average household in 2027 by failing to capitalize on advanced energy technologies. That’s a real shame.”
"Ohio appears to be the only state that is weakening its renewable energy and efficiency programs, while other Midwest states are strengthening theirs," said Tolbert, referencing data from a Feb. 12 Michigan Public Service Commission report. "In fact, while Ohio has been having conversations to roll back its standards, Michigan has invested $1.1 billion in new renewable energy investments in the state, and is creating an attractive market for companies looking to procure more clean energy sources."
This vote happens days after news reports highlight top Fortune 500 companies are increasing their commitments to sustainability and renewable energy sources, many with targets of meeting 100 percent of their needs with clean energy sources. In 2016 Corporate Advanced Energy Commitments, AEE reports that 71 of the Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or sustainability targets, up from 60 just two years ago. Among the Fortune 500, commitments have held steady at 43 percent, or 215 firms. Of these companies, 22 have committed to powering all of their operations with renewable energy. Most consider energy resources as they make location and expansion decisions.
In another new report, Private Procurement, Public Benefit: Integrating Corporate Renewable Energy Purchases with Utility Resource Planning, the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University explains that corporate renewable commitments present challenges but also opportunities for states to capitalize on these commitments.
This bill now heads to Governor Kasich, who will have 10 days to approve, veto, or approve without a signature. The legislature would need a three-fifths majority in the House and Senate to override his veto, requiring 60 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate.
About AEE and OAEE
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE works with Ohio Advanced Energy Economy and its other state partner organizations active in 27 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 organizations in the advanced energy industry. www.aee.net @AEEnet