Major Ohio employers today commended Republican Gov. John Kasich for vetoing an energy bill that they say would have increased electricity costs and made Ohio less globally competitive.
By vetoing HB554, Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard of 12.5 percent by 2026 goes back into effect on January 1, 2017. Utilities are also required to implement energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs that will result in 0.75% reduction in peak demand each year, leading to a cumulative electricity savings of 22% by the end of 2025.
Governor Kasich has “sent a clear market signal that clean energy jobs, investment and innovation are welcome in Ohio,” seven Ohio businesses said in a joint statement, including Whirlpool, Nestle, Ameresco, Clif Bar, Gap Inc., JLL and the National Association of Energy Service Companies “Businesses like ours rely on renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in order to cut costs, avoid energy price volatility and stay competitive,” the statement continued.
“Policies that encourage clean energy investment are on the rise in many U.S. states because they make strong business sense,” said Mindy Lubber, president of the nonprofit group Ceres, which helps organize businesses to speak out publicly in support of the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. “By allowing Ohio’s clean energy standards to come back online, Governor Kasich joins other Midwest states—including Michigan and Illinois—that recently passed laws strengthening renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, which will stimulate private investment, economic growth and new jobs.”
In early December, state lawmakers passed House Bill 554. The legislation would have extended the current freeze on renewable energy and energy efficiency for another two years by making the standards voluntary. Two years ago, Ohio launched an experiment on energy policy, becoming the first state to freeze its energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.
Several research reports show Ohio’s clean energy policies were bringing money into the state and benefiting consumers before the freeze was put in place in 2014:
- Ohio attracted $1.3 billion in private clean energy investment from 2009 to 2013 and was projected to generate an additional $3 billion over the next ten years, according to Pew.
- Electricity customers were saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year on their bills and were on track to save over $5 billion cumulatively by 2020.
- Investments in Ohio’s clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated over $160 million in annual GDP growth.
- Ohio’s wind industry lost more than 1,400 jobs last year, according to the report by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs.
Many small businesses, consumer groups and investors also opposed the bill that would have kept the renewable and energy efficiency freeze in place.
The full and original article can be viewed on Ceres.org
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