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Green Building News

Ohio Suspends Its Renewable Energy Targets

A bill passed by the state legislature puts renewable portfolio standards on hold for two years so that a commission can take a closer look

Ohio takes a break from improving its renewable energy mix. A bill approved by lawmakers in Ohio allows electric utilities to take a pass on previously approved targets for increasing renewable energy.

Ohio lawmakers have passed legislation that puts on hold requirements that utilities gradually increase the amount of renewable sources in their energy mix. The measure, which the governor is likely to sign, gives a study commission two years to look into the issue.

Backers of the bill objected to renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to purchase 25% of their power from renewable sources (including nuclear) sources by 2025.

Opponents said the portfolio standards would make electricity more expensive and argued that renewable sources of energy should compete on their own with fossil fuels.

The bill doesn’t do away with renewable energy requirements altogether, only puts them on hold. According to a report posted at utilitydive.com, the renewable energy targets will resume in two years unless lawmakers come up with another approach.

A San Francisco-based group called SCRECTrade, among others, opposed the bill and said the actual cost to Ohio ratepayers for the renewable portfolio standards would be less than $5 per household per year, SolarServer.com reported.

The original law was passed in 2008.

2 Comments

  1. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    The "...actual cost..." of the program to the ratepayers...
    ... is actually cost-negative, (a savings), not merely "...less than $5 per household per year...".

    Suspending the program is going to end up costing the ratepayers, according to some analysts:

    http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/06/05/ohio-legislature-and-lawsuit-raise-doubts-for-the-future/

    Basically, the increasing efficiency and increasing zero-marginal cost renewables was putting a damper on peak capacity rates paid, which is reflected in lower fixed rates to the ratepayers. In OH (as in other states with similar programs) that reduction in capacity market pricing results in savings greater than the cost of the efficiency & renewables programs.

    The lobbying behind the Ohio action was funded by incumbent power generators and fuel industries whose margins were being negatively impacted by the savings that were accruing to the ratepayers. They couched it as being "pro-consumer", "rate-payer friendly", but the evidence supports a very different picture. But it's sure favorable to peak-power generation stakeholders participating in the capacity markets, increasing both their gross margin & capacity factor of their assets. (More money per kwh, and more kwh per year.) Can't blame those companies for trying to protect their bottom lines and share prices, but you can blame the legislature for blocking the competition from efficiency & renewables.

  2. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #2

    Looks like they're not stopping there
    The incumbent fossil-fired generators in OH seem to be looking for a further subsidy (on the backs of the ratepayers) to make them more competitive with renewables & efficiency- simply suspending the efficiency & renewables program isn't sufficient in the face of the efficiency & renewables already deployed:

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ohio-utilities-try-end-runs-around-capacity-competition

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