New research from The Ohio State University finds that Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards are responsible for the creation of over 3,200 jobs and saving Ohio electricity consumers over $300 million a year. In addition, the report found that if current efforts to repeal Ohio’s renewable standards were to pass consumers will be expected to pay $3.65 billion more in energy costs over the next 12 years. Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards went into effect in 2008 and require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy and advanced energy technologies by 2025. The law also aims to reduce energy consumption by 22 percent by 2015 by focusing on energy efficiency gains. The OSU report is especially timely considering that just last week Ohio State Senator Bill Seitz introduced legislation that effectively guts the law that has successfully created thousands of jobs, saved Ohio consumers millions of dollars, and improved public health. Just last year, the report estimates the law saved consumers $190 million through energy efficiency savings alone. For 2008 to 2012, electricity users realized electricity savings of $230 million due to the law. The report also found that investments in advanced energy technologies were creating real economic gains in Ohio. These new investments created $160 million in economic growth in 2012 and created 3,200 new Ohio jobs between 2008 and 2012. The report forecasts significant economic benefits over the next 12 years for Ohio consumers and Ohio workers, assuming the law goes unchanged. Estimates include the creation of over 3,000 new jobs, lower electricity prices, and lower electricity demand due to the law staying on the books. The report found that if Republicans in the legislature are able to change the law it will have significant impacts on consumers bills. The report found that if proposed changes were successfully passed, electricity bills will climb by 3.9 percent which translates into an increase of $3.65 billion over the next 12 years, with an average increase of $300 million per year. Ohio’s renewable energy standards have been a key economic development tool for Ohio and lawmakers should think long and hard before they consider doing away with them. Gutting the state’s renewable energy requirements and energy efficiency standards will cost Ohioans millions in increased electricity bills, destroy jobs, and push this budding industry out of Ohio and into other states.
This month marks the five year anniversary of Governor Strickland signing Senate Bill 221 into law. Republican leaders in both the House and Senate, large and small businesses, consumer groups, labor unions, faith leaders, hospitals, farmers, and the environmental community all fought for its passage. After more than a year of public hearings this bipartisan piece of legislation passed both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly with only one ‘No’ vote. Five years later there is a lot to show for the hard work that went into the process of creating one of the most aggressive renewable and energy efficiency standards in the country. A recent report commissioned by the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association shows that the energy efficiency standard—requiring utilities to use less electricity—will save Ohio residents and businesses $5.6 billion dollars. [Read more…]