A group of environmentalists and others, like the Farm Bureau, who are pushing for reinstatement of the renewable mandates have completed a tour of the state and issued a report that is getting a lot of media attention. In addition to pushing for reinstatement of the mandates, they are demanding repeal of property line setbacks established last year to protect property owners. Siting has never been considered by the mandate committee and it would be surprising to see it included in the Mandate Committee’s report . And as for the mandates, Senator Seitz is quoted in the Columbus Business First as saying ““I don’t think we’re likely to resume our march up Mandate Mountain, but I also don’t think we’re going to repeal where we are right now,” he said. “Let things unfold the next three years due to turbulence created by the U.S. EPA.” “Those that believe these things are important should be given every opportunity to put money where their mouth is,” he said. “Loud and clearly.”…
We aren’t quite sure how to interpret all of this but it could mean the Committee will recommend that those who want to use more renewable energy could do so on a voluntary basis and pay for it themselves instead of forcing higher costs on ratepayers and taxpayers. This would be an outcome we could live with for now….
…Ohio’s Energy Future Tour, a coalition of business groups and environmental advocates, issued a report on Wednesday calling on the state to lift a “freeze” on benchmarks for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and to make other changes that embrace clean-energy technologies….
There are two laws at issue.
• First is Senate Bill 310, passed last year, which placed a two-year freeze on state rules that require utilities to buy certain amounts of renewable energy and to meet targets for reducing energy use. The law has several other notable provisions, including a repeal of a rule that says utilities must buy half of their renewable energy from sources within the state.
• Second is a change to rules addressing placement of wind-energy turbines, a modification that was inserted into a larger budget bill last year. The change puts more distance between turbines and nearby buildings, which has the effect of reducing the number of turbines that can be installed for some projects….
Sam Randazzo, a Columbus lawyer for industrial businesses and a supporter of last year’s legislation, says the report is making requests that would lead to an increase in utility bills. He says the authors are straining their credibility when they argue that renewable energy is affordable and good for the economy, and also argue that renewable-energy mandates are necessary.
“If it’s so cheap, why do you have to force people to buy it?” he asked.
The legislative committee will issue its recommendations, and then it will be up to the General Assembly to decide what to do next. If lawmakers take no action, the freeze would lift next year….