Ohio bill revisits Kasich's 2012 clean-energy plan

Governor poised to sign bill that freezes phase-in of renewable energy, repeals advanced energy goals altogether
Associated Press
Jun 8, 2014

Republican Gov. John Kasich championed a major rewrite of Ohio energy policies two years ago.

By Kasich's own description, the 2012 law accounted for newly accessible shale gas and embraced Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency targets as vital to the state's economy. The legislation was drawn from a heavily attended 21st Century Energy Summit.

Now, the governor is ready to sign a bill freezing the very same renewables targets.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said signing a bill that suspends Ohio's phase-in of clean-energy targets won't be a reversal by the governor. He said the targets were set six years ago, as part of a 2008 law passed under then-Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat.

"I can think of nothing more arrogant than to say that this law written six years ago shouldn't be re-evaluated in light of the energy realities around us," Nichols said.

The bill would suspend the targets for two years and, if lawmakers don't act within that period, the targets would resume in 2017.

Nichols said groups from across the political spectrum oppose the compromise that call for suspending the standards, with those on one side wanting them repealed and those on the other wanting them retained.

"That tells us we're right where we need to be on this," Nichols said. "We're right in the sensible center."

Jack Shaner, of the Ohio Environmental Council, said any governor who supported alternative energy just two years ago should logically veto a proposal to freeze those standards when it hits his desk in 2014.

The council joins advanced energy interests — those companies that incorporate new technologies with traditional energy sources to reduce environmental harm — in pushing Kasich to veto the bill. Faith leaders, civil-rights activists and others also want a veto.

"This is anything but the sensible center," Shaner said. "It's going to put Ohio on the radical, anti-clean energy fringe."

Ohio is among more than half of the states that have set renewable energy targets for utilities. The state's 2008 law required utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from alternative sources by 2025, half of that from advanced sources, such as cleaner coal plants, and half from renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a policy advisory group dominated by Republicans, is a leading force behind the push against such targets. Ohio is among states to which the council provided model legislation eliminating renewables targets, which it dubbed the Electricity Freedom Act.

Opponents of the targets include Senate Public Utilities Chairman Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican active in the legislative exchange council, who has sometimes cited Ohio's shale gas boom for changing the state's energy landscape and prompting the latest bill.

Shaner calls that claim "bogus," noting that shale drilling was prominently featured at Kasich's summit. It was also mentioned during the rollout of the 2012 law.

Kasich worked with lawmakers to strike a compromise to full repeal of Ohio's renewables standard that was backed by Seitz and others. With legislative leaders, he negotiated the two-year suspension in place of a permanent moratorium.

The 2014 bill he plans to sign suspends only the renewables standards, however. It eliminates the advanced energy standard that Kasich's 2012 energy law embraced and expanded to add co-generation and waste heat recovery. The earlier law also invested $30 million in taxpayer dollars to develop advanced energy technologies in clean coal.

Nichols said Kasich believes in "re-evaluating everything" and that includes renewables mandates that appear to be creating jobs in the wind and solar fields only through heavy subsidies.

"At the end of the day, the governor's for renewables," Nichols said. "But it's got to be done in a commonsense manner."

Comments

freethinker1

Toledo Blade today has an article that outlines revenue and jobs -that were earmarked for Ohio - that are now leaving for other states, thanks to Kasich's backwards-thinking legislation. Ohio is the only state in the nation turning the clock backwards on progress with renewable energy.

The Big Dog's back

Ohio, right wingnut capital of the world. What a disgrace.

wasthere

Then you will be leaving Ohio soon Bigdog? You probably will be happier in Chicago with the rest of the corruption. Maybe you can find a state where you will actually learn to put together a sentence without the word wingnut. Then again, there isn't much to work with on you.

freethinker1

Nah, plenty of hometown corruption here in Ohio. Apparently you haven't heard of Kasich's JobsOhio initiative? Or maybe the Tom Noe Coingate Scandal (theft & corruption by people closely connected to the Ohio Republican Party during the 2004 presidential election).

Moving won't solve the problem of rightwingnuts - they are everywhere.

Darwin's choice

Yep! And, here you are! Moron.

Really are you ...

No! What the frack! Fracking leads to combusting. Just like coal and oil for electrical energy leads to combustion. Refined oil leads to combustion that moves our transportation and powers most of our outdoor power equipment. Out of the box thinking can solve this dilemma. We can solve this puzzle now or kick the can down the road for future generations to figure out. But by then America will be so broke.

ohioengineer

I for one am pleased that we have a governor who is willing to examine existing legislation in light of new information and make changes if appropriate. (Wouldn't it be wonderful if Washington did the same thing!) The energy picture in America and Ohio has changed dramatically since 2008; and it will probably change dramatically again by 2020. We cannot lock ourselves into the past, no matter how fond we might be of that past.

Europe (which is the model liberals tell us we should copy) has pretty much abandoned renewables, as even these socialist states could not continue to justify the huge government subsidies with little economic payback. As I have stated before, I eagerly await the day that renewable energy is economically feasible. But until that day, we must make use of those products that work now.

Furthermore, the fastest way to reduce poverty is to grow our economy. A growing economy needs abundant and reasonably priced energy. Today that means fossil fuels. This may not be what you want to hear, but it is the way things are.

freethinker1

See, that's the problem. Kasich is NOT examining new information. If he was, Ohio would be moving forward with development of NEW renewable energy, instead of doing the opposite of what the other 49 states are doing.

It's silly to complain about "huge government subsidies" for green energy when you ignore the obvious: the BIGGEST recipients of huge government subsidies are old-carbon-based energy companies.

Folks, do NOT listen to the conservative Ohio smokescreen on this issue. They do not care about you, your family, your health or Ohio. They care only for their wallet. Kasich is a classic politician/tool, who has been bought by special interests.

Peninsula Pundit

This is quite correct.
(Since the spam filter won't accept, 'True Dat.'
Hoo boy. the spam filter doesn't like me.
This must be those 'changes' we've been hearing about the past few months.

Peninsula Pundit

All the republicans in Ohio are in the back pocket of the electric companies and anyone who says otherwise lacks common sense and open eyes.