This week we welcome into the world House Bill 114 sponsored Ohio Rep. Louis Blessing who noted that “A lot of the utilities are going to be doing these programs on their own, and I think it’s kind of unnecessary to have the mandates at this point.” Fellow sponsor Rep. Bill Seitz’s view is “What we are now saying is we are going to scrap the renewable portfolio mandates in their entirety and repeal them with goals.” HB 114 is co-sponsored by all of the House Republicans including House leadership plus one Democrat. That is a veto-proof majority in the House but the bill’s fate in the Ohio Senate is less certain.
Not surprisingly, AWEA, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the reliable left, are gearing up for a BIG FIGHT. A report issued by the Buckeye Institute last week asserts that energy mandates drive up costs and threaten jobs. AWEA shot back with a loud reply. We understand there may not be one single factual statement in the AWEA reply….
We also received disturbing, but not unexpected, news this week that Senator Cliff Hite is still making efforts to reduce setbacks for wind turbines. Word is that he proposes to keep property lines but significantly shorten the distance from a turbine to the property line. There are also rumors of ongoing discussions about granting more local control to communities. We will continue to keep our ears to the ground and report what we learn.
Also interesting is that more municipalities in Denmark – home of Vestas – are banning onshore wind altogether. “John Snedker, the head of the planning and environmental committee, said that resistance against wind farms has been exploding.”….
Ohio Republicans have introduced a bill to gut the state’s renewable energy standards.
The changes would strip the 2008 law that enacted the standards of much of its muscle. House Bill 114 follows through on a promise made last month by Rep. Bill Seitz to scrap the requirements and make them voluntary.
“What we are now saying is we are going to scrap the renewable portfolio mandates in their entirety and repeal them with goals,” said Seitz, R-Cincinnati and chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee. Utilities would no longer be mandated to supply 12.5 percent of their power with alternative energy by 2027, and they would not need to ensure 0.5 percent of that is supplied by solar power. Those would now be goals, and utilities would not be “fined into oblivion” if they don’t meet the goal, Seitz has said.Under current law, they have to make compliance payments if they don’t meet annual benchmarks.The bill also would allow Ohio electric customers to opt out of costs utilities pass on to customers for renewable energy charges starting in 2019. Plus, commercial and industrial customers, who tend to use the most power, could opt out of energy efficiency programs.
Utilities wouls still have to meet energy efficiency requirements, but the maximum rate would drop to 17% from 22% by 2027….