Senator Faber favors an Ohio “freeze” of renewable mandates

Today is a big day!  Senator Faber is leading an effort to freeze the Ohio renewable mandate.  Legislation is scheduled to be introduced today and hearings will begin soon with the stated goal of enactment before June. Please call his office and thank him for this support!

What does this mean?  We consulted with Tom Stacy, Ohioan for Affordable Energy and Lisa Linowes, Executive Director of WindAction. They believe a freeze at 2014 levels would result in a “need” to generate a total of about 117 MW of in-state renewable energy.* When that amount of new generation is attained, there will be no further requirement to generate more in-state renewable energy.  The current mandate is filled by a variety of sources: Biomass, hydro, wind and coal mine methane (CMM).  Tom Stacy developed the pie chart (url at bottom) to show the amount each source currently provides: Biomass (45%); Hydro (15% ); Wind (37% ); and CMM (3%).   If wind has a CF (Capacity Factor) of 30% and, if it fulfills about 37% of the in-state requirement for wind, only 43.29 MW’s of wind would be needed before the mandate is capped or “frozen”.  

There are many more than 43 MW’s of wind that have been approved in Ohio by the OPSB.   The question becomes, if only 43 MW of in-state generation would be needed, would any Ohio utility buy the excess?  If Ohio generated wind is not the most affordable choice, it is doubtful that a utility would buy it absent a mandate.  If there is no market for in-state wind,  there would not be a compelling reason to build it.  The risk to a lender would increase substantially. We can expect furious pushback from the renewable industry, mostly wind, against freezing the mandate at 2014 levels.  We will be there as we have been for the past few years to report on the legislative battle.  But this time, having the support of Senator Faber will very likely enhance the prospects for passage. 

 (*According to the 2012 filings by the utilities and suppliers, Ohio’s RPS load (load subject to the RPS) was 131.2 million MWhs,  Assuming the same RPS load for 2013 and 2014, and assuming wind provides ALL of the in-state obligation, Ohio will need an incremental increase in installed wind for each year of 117 MW at a 30% CF. This number is still inflated because Ohio’s law calculates RPS load as the average in sales for the preceding three years. Electricity sales for most utilities dropped off precipitously from 2009 to 2010 and dropped further in 2011. In 2013, the 2009 sale numbers were no longer part of the baseline RPS calculations and you should see the RPS load drop by 20+% for most suppliers.

Ohio Senate Republicans will release a plan today to call a halt to annual increases in “green” energy standards.

The proposal, first reported by The Dispatch on Sunday, would cancel the next 11 years’ worth of increases in the requirements. The rules apply to electricity utilities’ purchases of renewable energy and programs that help customers improve energy efficiency.

Opponents say the plan will lead to a pullback on clean-energy investments, which will cost the state jobs and lead to dirtier air.

This is the latest attempt by House and Senate Republicans to respond to the concerns of utilities and business groups that say parts of a 2008 energy law have unreasonably high costs.

Ohio would remain among the 30 or so states that have requirements for renewable energy, but its benchmarks would be some of the lowest in the group.

Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, was involved in writing the bill and said he hopes to see it pass the Senate and House before legislators begin a summer recess in late May.

“What we want to do as a legislature is put procedures in place that are based on evidence and science, not based on ideas that happened back when we thought Solyndra was going to be a good investment for the federal government,” he said.

Solyndra was a solar-panel maker in California that went bankrupt in 2011, even after government aid. Its problems are often cited by critics of renewable-energy requirements and subsidies.

via GOP drafts plan to freeze Ohio ‘green’ energy rules | The Columbus Dispatch.

chart is at