The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee was greeted by fifty witnesses wishing to testify on Am. Sub. S. B. 310 yesterday. The group was a mixture of both supporters and opponents and only a small number were able to be heard. Many were asked to hold over until next week. Among those who were not heard were the wind developers. Copies of all testimony submitted can be obtained on the Committee website at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/public-utilities.
Iberdrola rests its support for the renewable mandate on climate change and the idea that the fuel – wind – is free. Iberdrola objects to how renewables are characterized: “The Energy Mandate Study Committee’s foregone conclusion is telegraphed in the legislation that creates the committee and uses terms like unreliable, unaffordable and unrealistic.” Ominously, Iberdrola warns that “If you proceed with passage of SB 310, you are jeopardizing the viability of two additional investments in Ohio we are planning that would total about 250 MWs of generation capacity…” These two unannounced projects are in addition to Blue Creek Dog Creek and Leipsic Wind. We have no idea where the two new projects are targeted to be.
EDPR, developer of Timber Road in Paulding County, testified that project was the “direct result” of the mandate. Like Iberdrola, EDPR has unknown projects of 400 MW’s in the very early stages of planning. Where?
Everpower’s Michael Speerscheider gives testimony indicating his belief that tax abatement through the PILOT is a foregone conclusion because he states the amount the company will be paying for Buckeye I, Buckeye II and Scioto Ridge. Everpower acknowledges “The investments that EverPower has made in the state have been made possible by the policies that the Ohio General Assembly put in place.” (That policy is an unconstitutional mandate to build in-state renewable energy.) Speerschneider cites numerous industry sponsored research papers to support the notion that renewables do not increase costs and that the subsidies they receive are far less than what other companies receive. In saying this, Everpower tries to equate tax credits and tax abatement with oil depletion allowances or investment tax credits available to any company as part of the tax code. This is a phony argument but, remarkably, he goes on to say “Denouncing wind energy because it relies on some level of government incentives is intellectually and ideologically dishonest.”
While not testifying, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) lobbyist Dayna Baird filed a comment on yesterday’s story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer saying: “ First, AWEA is supportive of a compromise amendment to SB 310 that makes significant changes to the renewable energy standards .” We do not know what the proposed “compromise” amendment might be but we are pretty sure it would eliminate the two-year freeze on the mandate while the Committee undertakes its review of Ohio’s mandates.
Amidst all of the cheerleading for why the energy efficiency and renewable mandates are good for Ohioans and good for business, the annual survey of 500 Chief Executives was announced showing that Ohio has dropped five spots to number 26 as the best place in America to do business. Regulations and taxes put us in the bottom half of the country with places like New York and California while our neighbor Indiana, with no energy mandates, was rated 6th best in the country. Hmmmmmm…..
Twenty-nine states and the District of Colombia have passed renewable energy mandates that require consumers and businesses to consume minimum amounts of wind, solar, and other green energy. A handful of states have also enacted laws that require states to reduce their total energy consumption. These mandates have increased energy prices, causing many legislatures to reexamine their value.
While legislative efforts began and stalled in a handful of Republican states like North Carolina and Kansas, Ohio is positioning itself to be the first state to rollback its mandate, known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard RPS, and energy reduction program. As is generally the case, the mandate begins small and relatively painless but quickly ramps up, requiring utilities to use more and more renewable energy….