Ohio legislators urge wind-power goals; House begins work on Senate bill that adopted Strickland plan
A group of Ohio lawmakers yesterday urged colleagues to blow more than hot air when it comes to backing wind power as the debate on the state’s future energy needs and prices switches to the House.
But the letter does not call for quotas or suggest how wind should fit into Gov. Ted Strickland’s call for utilities to find at least 25 percent of their power from advanced technology and renewable sources by 2025. The letter was signed by 22 mostly Republican House members and sent to Mr. Strickland and GOP legislative leaders.
“This is an opportunity that I think we’ve got to grab a hold of …,” said Rep. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay). “As a former football coach, I’m into goal-setting. This is what we need to do. … We’re not trying to set anything other than a policy of success.”
Environmental groups say Ohio has enough wind to generate 10 percent of the state’s electricity within 10 years and have played up the economic benefits of supporting the industry.
But the letter signed by the lawmakers does not set 10 percent as a goal for current debate.
Ohio has four wind turbines, all near Bowling Green. Amy Gomberg of Environment Ohio said it’s unclear how many turbines would be needed to generate 10 percent of Ohio’s power.
“I’m one of those who is opposed to mandates,” said Rep. John Adams (R., Sidney). “However, I believe … we have everything in place to take a look at getting those businesses here, those wind developers.”
Committee hearings on a Senate-passed bill began yesterday in the House. The chamber hopes to have a bill on Mr. Strickland’s desk early next year.
The Senate version adopted the governor’s 25-by-2025 proposal, but it added a provision allowing regulators to waive full implementation of the mandate if integrating nontraditional sources of power raises customer bills more than 3 percent.
The administration’s definition of advanced power includes cleaner-coal and nuclear technology, fuel cells, and renewables like wind, solar, landfill gases, and hydroelectric.
Half of the 25 percent mandate, or 12.5 percent of the total power portfolio, would have to come from renewables. A separate bill in the House calls for a more ambitious 22 percent all-renewable portfolio by 2020.
“I don’t claim to know whether wind, solar, hydrogen fuel cells, you name it, are the best solutions,” said House Speaker Jon Husted (R., Kettering). “I think the market is probably the best determining place to let us know what the best technology is.”
Besides Mr. Hite, area lawmakers signing the wind-power letter included Reps. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), and Bruce Goodwin (R., Defiance).
By Jim Provance
Blade Columbus Bureau
8 November 2007
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