Redfern: Ohio energy plan likely to succeed

Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to require utilities to use alternative energy will pass the House soon and become law, state Rep. Ch
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to require utilities to use alternative energy will pass the House soon and become law, state Rep. Chris Redfern predicts.

The governor's proposal, Senate Bill 221, requires 25 percent of Ohio's electricity by 2025 to be generated by advanced energy technologies such as clean coal, fuel cells, nuclear power plants and renewable power sources such as solar energy, wind energy and hydroelectric power.

At least half, or 12.5 percent, would have to come from renewable sources, and at least half of the power would have to be generated from within Ohio.

SB 221 passed the Senate but has not yet emerged from a House committee.

It won't stay there, predicts Redfern, D-Catawba Island.

"I think the requirements for alternative energy sources by 2025 will remain largely intact and will be passed into law early next year," Redfern said. "Most lawmakers, if not all, support it."

The governor's spokesman said Strickland also is optimistic.

"The governor is hopeful that the bill will pass if not by the end of this year then very early in 2008 to allow Ohio businesses the time they need to prepare for the implementation of the changes," said Keith Dailey. "The bill moved through the Senate without one dissenting vote."

Many northern Ohio officials hope the governor's mandate will help generate wind-power projects in windy Ohio counties next to Lake Erie, such as Erie and Ottawa counties.

Redfern said he shares that hope, too, but said creating a wind power industry in northern Ohio will require more than the governor's energy production mandate.

"There will be those who do not want wind turbines in their backyard," Redfern said.

Financial incentives from the state to reward companies that invest in wind power in Ohio would be helpful, Redfern said.

"Nobody's looking for a gold star," Redfern said.

Congress is moving closer to passing an energy bill that would impose a national requirement for alternative energy production.

The bill includes a provision requiring electric utilities to obtain 15 percent of their power from renewable energy.

Prospects for passage of the bill appeared to be enhanced after House-Senate negotiators reached a compromise last week on fuel economy standards for automobiles sold in the U.S. The bill would requires car manufacturers to reach a fleet-wide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.