Reprinted below, are 2 Memorandi. The first is sent from Senator Bill Seitz to policy makers in the legislature as well as the Governor’s Office. The 2nd was sent TO Senator Seitz by individuals ‘disguised’ as conservatives. Governor Kasich appears to have fallen for the disguises…
The points made by the Senator are:
Ø “Ohio Business Roundtable—the consortium of Ohio’s leading businesses—just last week issued its report that its executive director summed up as follows: “we have done the forecasting, it is our conclusion that over time mandates will result in higher prices that are passed on to the consumer. In looking at these issues through a purely economic lens, it is our judgment that mandates ought to be phased out.”
Ø The existing mandates have already increased every residential, commercial, and industrial customer’s electric bills by 8-9% of the amount charged to them for electric generation.
Ø …the businesses that are advocating for immediate restoration of the mandates are those that benefit from forcing utilities to buy their overpriced power or their energy efficiency products.
Ø Ohio can attain CPP compliance by relying on natural gas
Given the above, Senator Seitz has proposed a substitute Senate Bill 320 which would resume the mandate benchmarks, while eliminating the penalties for noncompliance for the next three years. Not surprisingly, the draft has drawn objections from opponents of the freeze. Governor Kasich is taking the position that he does not comment on pending legislation while openly threatening to veto any legislation that “kills” the mandate. Over in the House of Representatives, another bill is being drafted that would cut the mandates in half.
Senator Seitz has criticized the Administration for failing to offer their own ideas for Ohio’s energy policy. “If the administration has an energy policy, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to make proposals and set forth what that policy is. “But in the absence of getting any help from them, we have to forge ahead and do what we think is appropriate.”
The suspect Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, allegedly a front group for the Governor, has responded to Senator Seitz’s proposal in the memo, below. Tucked into this group’s seemingly “conservative” concerns about government mandates and desires for a more open market is their attack on property line setbacks that will continue to thwart the development of wind even if the mandates are restored. We use the word “thwart” loosely because we maintain development could still go forward with property line setbacks but the massive profits sought by the wind developers would be somewhat less. In the OHCEF position paper, the devious “conservatives” assert “This mandate must be revisited so that wind energy can flourish in communities where it is appropriate and voluntary purchasers can have access to wind power. The current setback limits competition to only those “grandfathered” projects subject to the prior setback— which drives up prices through artificial constraint of supply. Additionally, the current setbacks would provide unbridled authority and discretion to one landowner to exercise a minority right of veto over a group of adjacent property owners.” What a bunch of hooey!
It appears the OHCEF would like the OPSB to decide every project on a case by case basis and have the authority to move setbacks around as they see fit. So appropriate for the Halloween season – really scary. But every day that goes by another renewable fiasco floats to the surface. In a miracle of good timing, Ontario, Canada is finally admitting that they have wasted BILLIONS of dollars on renewables.
While all this pathetic land wasting renewable fight continues, another natural gas facility that will generate 1,000 MW on 60 acres of land has been announced in Harrison County. This announcement comes ONE WEEK after the announcement of another gas plant in Columbiana County that will produce more than 1,000 MW. The Ohio Business Roundtable, as noted above, believes “Ohio can attain CPP compliance by relying on natural gas.”
How we ask, HOW can Governor Kasich or any thinking person – especially a conservative – support publicly subsidized, landscape destroying, property trespassing renewables in light of all the evidence that points to the fraud and folly of wind? How indeed? Trick or Treat….
To: Senate and House Majority Leadership, Senate and House Energy and Natural Resource Committee Members, Representative Dovilla
From: Senator Bill Seitz
Date: September 29, 2016
Re: Renewable Portfolio and Energy Efficiency Mandates
When you hear the claims from those who assert that “business” wants restoration of the renewable portfolio and energy efficiency mandates, let’s be clear: business support for fuel diversity or clean energy generally is not to be confused as being support for continuation of state mandates. In fact, the Ohio Business Roundtable—the consortium of Ohio’s leading businesses—just last week issued its report that its executive director summed up as follows: “we have done the forecasting, it is our conclusion that over time mandates will result in higher prices that are passed on to the consumer. In looking at these issues through a purely economic lens, it is our judgment that mandates ought to be phased out.” A copy of the Business Roundtable report is available in my office.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is also on record as opposing restoration of the mandates as long as there remains uncertainty over the scope, breadth, and legality of the federal mandates contained in the Clean Power Plan.
The existing mandates have already increased every residential, commercial, and industrial customer’s electric bills by 8-9% of the amount charged to them for electric generation. We know that now because the 2014 legislation required utilities to disclose the mandate cost on the customers’ bills. These excess charges hurt the working poor, and businesses for whom electricity cost is a significant cost of doing business, more than anyone else. And these charges will only go up as the amount of compliance demanded by the mandates increases.
As I have maintained for years now, the businesses that are advocating for immediate restoration of the mandates are those that benefit from forcing utilities to buy their overpriced power or their energy efficiency products. As the Business Roundtable just recognized “over time, mandates will result in higher prices that are passed on to the consumer.” Who better than the Business Roundtable and the Ohio Chamber to speak for the real voice of business in Ohio?
I have also shared with many of you the articles reflecting Europe’s growing disenchantment with its rush to renewable energy, resulting in electricity prices in many European countries being three times higher than those in the U.S. Now we can add our neighbor to the North (no, not Michigan; Ontario, Canada) to the list as their government just canceled 1,000 mwh of wind and solar power in order to save $3.8 billion in higher electricity system costs.
Finally, I just received from API a report that it commissioned which concludes that Ohio can attain CPP compliance by relying on natural gas—the fuel that currently is cheaper than wind, solar, coal, or nuclear. That report is available in my office as well. It underscores the importance of avoiding a resumption of the march up state mandate mountain until more is known about the final contours of the federal Clean Power Plan; if CPP survives judicial scrutiny there may be cheaper ways of compliance than those embodied in Ohio’s current mandates law.
To: Senator Bill Seitz
From: Bill Byers and Greg Bennett
Date: September 18, 2016
Re: Senator Seitz Review and Comment on OHCEF Overview
The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) appreciates your August 18 memorandum regarding OHCEF’s conservative energy policy overview for the State of Ohio. OHCEF is an organization founded by conservatives who believe in a genuine “all of the above” approach to Ohio’s energy policy – one that recognizes our history and traditional energy sources, while also committing to advancing clean and renewable energy technology and focusing on energy efficiency….
Renewable Portfolio Standard
In the formulation of a renewable portfolio standard for Ohio, OHCEF utilized three data points:
- Benchmark other Conservative State Energy Policies
- Congressional Approval of 5-year Production/Investment Tax Credits
- Business Community and Economic Development interests heard through site
First, OHCEF has identified nine states with Republican-control in both the legislative and executive branches that have existing alternative energy standards. OHCEF has proposed a modest 7.5% RPS by the end of 2021, a target that is less ambitious than those of most other conservative states with current renewable energy policies in place. Alternatively, your current proposal in SB 320 resumes current law RPS benchmarks in 2020 and leaves the state of Ohio with a higher-level mandated policy through 2030.
Second, while you believe the suggested resumption of standards is to “enable [our] backers to slurp at the trough of the generous federal subsidies that are on a five year phase-out ending in 2022,” we would like to point out that the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit you are referring to was, in fact, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Not utilizing these available credits to promote economic development opportunities in Ohio would be as foolhardy as any CFO of an Ohio company failing to avail itself of all current tax credits under the federal tax code. Further, waiting until 2020 to re-implement rigid mandates originally set-forth in SB 221 (as you’ve proposed in SB 320) could prove more costly to Ohio’s ratepayers as the federal tax credits set to expire.
Third, the business community and economic development site-selectors have made it clear that a predictable energy policy and overall energy costs are priorities for their bottom line. While the prices of traditional sources fluctuate with the commodities market, power purchase agreements of non-traditional energy sources provide businesses with predictability over some portion of their business costs during hostile market conditions. This is why we continue to see private sector companies, such as Proctor and Gamble, Amazon, and General Motors adopt policies of pursuing greater portions of their power purchasing from non-traditional sources. This is not because of some “high-minded philosophy” that appeals to shareholders or customers, but rather because it benefits the bottom lines of these companies, by providing decades-long predictability for some portion of their cost structure.
Ultimately, our goal is to have an Ohio appropriate standard in place that sends the right signal to the market to attract economic development. In other words, Ohio is serious about attracting these 21st century investments to our state. At the same time, we have insisted on a balance that protects ratepayers through appropriate safeguards against large cost increases (OHCEF proposal includes maintaining a force majeure provision and adopting the 3% cost-cap you initially proposed in SB 58). The OHCEF proposal also proposes a more conservative 7.5% standard that our public utilities have already demonstrated they are capable of meeting in their PPA filings at the PUCO.
OHCEF believes that some portion of any renewable policy should include a role for distributed generation to promote non-utility scale projects. However, such a standard should be technology agnostic and not give preference to one particular industry (SB 221 provided a solar carve-out of .5% of the RPS standard). We disagree with that portion of
your current proposal that maintains a narrowly focused carve-out for only the solar industry, which will likely lead to higher prices. Rather, OHCEF’s policy promotes continued investment in smaller projects on an unbiased technological basis that would include, but not be limited to all manner of renewables such as bio-digesters, waste energy recovery, small wind, fuel cells, solar, and geothermal.
Not withstanding the original legislative intent and mission of the Ohio Power Siting Board, of which you are a non-voting member, the wind setback proposal outlined within OHCEF’s policy overview takes into consideration the potential for abundant economic advantages on a project-by-project basis.
The OHCEF policy utilizes the OPSB as an authority to determine the economic feasibility of each project, accepting input from interested parties and preserving the rights of landowners and their neighbors.
Unfortunately, the current wind setback law functions as a moratorium on new projects, ultimately stranding billions of dollars of investment in Ohio. This runs counter to the great work of the Common Sense Initiative, adopted by Kasich Administration and the Ohio General Assembly, to weed out unnecessary regulatory barriers to private sector investment and job growth.
This mandate must be revisited so that wind energy can flourish in communities where it is appropriate and voluntary purchasers can have access to wind power. The current setback limits competition to only those “grandfathered” projects subject to the prior setback— which drives up prices through artificial constraint of supply.
Additionally, the current setbacks would provide unbridled authority and discretion to one landowner to exercise a minority right of veto over a group of adjacent property owners. As conservatives, we believe Ohio’s legal structure for development should balance the interest and right of quiet enjoyment for one property owner with the ability of another property owner to maximize the economic utility of their property.
While there have been a myriad of legislative options aimed at addressing this issue, OHCEF thought it beneficial to provide another alternative to policymakers….
Director Craig Butler Merle Madrid
Fletch Zimpher Representative Dovilla Representative Amstutz President Faber Senator Balderson Shawn Kasych