Library filed under Energy Policy from Ohio
At least three sets of major amendments were submitted late Friday to the Public Utilities Committee of the Ohio Senate, where Chairman William Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, has been holding hearings on his bill, a proposal that opponents say would effectively abolish the five-year-old regulations.
The measure would create a series of exceptions to the state’s energy-efficiency standards and remove a requirement that utilities purchase half of their renewable energy from in-state sources. It would do so by changing provisions of a 2008 law that says electric utilities have to meet an escalating series of benchmarks for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
[Senator] Seitz believes the economics that convinced lawmakers to approve the legislation five years ago have proved incorrect. Seitz argued that shale gas has not only lowered the cost of electricity but also has persuaded utilities not to build any more coal-fired power plants, which would require costly emission controls. He also noted that demand has not increased as most predicted. "In short the assumptions upon which Senate Bill 221 (the 2008 law) were based have all turned out to be false," he wrote, "and it would be the height of foolishness to fail to account for these changed circumstances."
Much of the opposition to the legislation is from developers who are essentially receiving a subsidy because of the requirement to produce much of that energy in Ohio, Seitz said. He argued his proposal would help the environment but create more competition to produce that energy. “Cry me a river,” Seitz said of critics. “Is it about being green or making people money?”
Mr. Seitz noted that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down, as a violation of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, a provision in Oklahoma that had a buy-Oklahoma provision for coal. A federal appeals-court ruling also has shed doubt on an in-state mandate included in Michigan’s renewable-energy standards. So far, Ohio’s standard has not been legally challenged. Ohio Environmental Council spokesman Jack Shaner said the proposed changes would send the wrong message to wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers that their market here is not as assured.
Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, is about to release a wide-ranging energy proposal altering renewable-energy requirements. He hopes the General Assembly will pass the bill this year. ...If there is no requirement that utilities buy from within the state, then developers might pull back on projects that are in the planning stages, said a lobbyist for the group.
A long-simmering proposal to overhaul Ohio's energy policy is to be released this week. It would throw out the requirement that utilities buy half of their renewable energy from in-state sources, and it would change the way the state encourages energy efficiency.
Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said he hopes to introduce a bill overhauling the 2008 law as soon as the end of the month. "It behooves any wise person to check in. No one I know of stays with an 18-year plan and doesn't make suitable changes to the plan when market conditions change."
When the state's renewable energy mandate was enacted five years ago, both demand and prices for electricity were expected to rise, said Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, chairman of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee that is holding hearings this month on the state's renewable energy requirement. But since then, large deposits of natural gas in shale have kept energy prices down, Seitz said, and the additional demand hasn't materialized.
Ohio's benchmarks for renewable energy and energy efficiency are getting a five-year checkup that some defenders fear will turn into an amputation. An Ohio Senate panel began hearings last week to examine the rules and figure out whether there is a way to address some businesses' concerns that the mandates are too costly.
FirstEnergy, the publicly traded utility based in Akron, pushed lawmakers at the end of 2012 to freeze energy efficiency standards, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The company previously has argued that mandates on utilities increase costs for consumers. Environmental groups and green-energy proponents don't like talk of tinkering with the standards.
If approved by the House of Representatives next week as expected, the legislation would encourage public colleges and other institutions to build heating and power plants fired by natural gas and get credit for them as renewable energy ...Those credits now go to help finance wind farms.
Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, and waste heat from industrial processes would be qualified as renewable resources and be given equal footing with traditional green energy sources like wind and solar.
"It is my strong conviction that the choice of energy supply should come from the demands of the free market, and not from policymakers and environmental lobbyists," said Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, sponsor of the bill that would eliminate the requirement for use of renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar.
Without government to subsidize green energy enough to make it competitive -- or, in the case of states with renewable portfolio standards, to make green energy a requirement, whether it's competitive or not -- there would be no market for it. ...Just ask the guys at Solyndra. They'll take the Fifth Amendment, but that doesn't stop you from asking.
The legislation, Senate Bill 216, proposes to repeal Ohio's alternative energy portfolio standard (AEPS). The current AEPS, enacted in May 2008 under then-Gov. Ted Strickland, contains two separate resource requirements, both of which would be revoked if Jordan's bill were to become law.
Earlier this month, Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, introduced a bill to repeal those standards. "They're trying to get me to say we don't need renewables here. Of course, we need renewables," Kasich said during an impassioned speech to kick off the summit, which is designed to help his administration craft an all-inclusive energy policy for the state.
"Ohioans deserve our best efforts to lower energy costs for all consumers, and a positive environment for job creators to move Ohio's economy forward, and this bill does just that." State clean energy supporters pointed out that energy efficiency is the best way to cut pollution.
Three years after legislators voted nearly unanimously to require Ohio's power companies to meet new green-energy standards, at least a few Republicans say it's time to repeal the rules to save jobs and avoid higher electricity costs. Environmental groups are sharply criticizing the plan.
The alternative energy plan, adopted in 2008, calls on Ohio utilities to get 12 1/2 percent of their energy by 2025 from advanced, renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass. Half must be produced in Ohio. The standards are ''effectively a hidden tax passed on to consumers and businesses.''