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Proposed Ohio bill would remove renewable energy benchmarks  

Credit:  KATHLEEN FOX, Assistant Editor. The Urbana Daily Citizen, www.urbanacitizen.com 28 September 2011 ~~

Ohio Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Powell) has introduced a bill that, if passed, would erase former governor Ted Strickland’s goal of the state having 25 percent of its electricity generated by renewable and advanced resources by 2025, according to the Associated Press and North American Wind Power (nawindpower.com).

Sen. Bill 216 is being referred to the state’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee, where it will die or proceed with hearings and a committee vote to determine whether it goes to the state Senate and House floors. Besides Jordan, the bill is sponsored by Sens. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati).

Jordan cited studies that claim the state’s clean-energy requirement will result in higher energy costs and fewer Ohio jobs. “With one of the worst recessions in recent memory still fresh in our minds, the last thing we need to do in Ohio is drive up the cost of energy for both Ohio families and Ohio businesses, and that’s exactly what the alternative energy portfolio standard does,” he said.

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen an emphasis on ‘green jobs’ at the state and federal level, but studies show that in countries such as Spain, similar efforts have led to the destruction of 2.2 jobs in other sectors for every one of these ‘green jobs’ created,” Jordan added, according to nawindpower.com.

Mike Speerschneider, development director of EverPower, which plans to erect the Buckeye Wind project with more than 50 wind turbines in eastern Champaign County, told the Daily Citizen on Monday this is not a positive sign to send to businesses.

“Elimination of those policies will send signals to Ohio businesses that the state’s commitment to renewable energy is wavering, and passage of 216 would have a chilling effect on the industry in Ohio, resulting in lost jobs, lost opportunity to attract investment in the state and lost economic development,” Speerschneider stated in an email to the Daily Citizen.

He said Ohio ranks fourth in the nation’s wind manufacturing supply chain and that the state soon will have two wind projects totaling an $800 million capital investment and more than 2,000 construction workers. He added that these projects will use more than 50 Ohio businesses and create more than $3.6 million in annual tax revenue.

Speerschneider said he doubts legislators would pass S.B. 216 and said EverPower will continue to work with state and local officials to develop projects.

Sen. Keith Faber (R-Celina) said a good business model doesn’t depend on subsidies and that it’s important to know whether projects such as Buckeye Wind eventually “will be economically viable.”

“There’s a general concern in the legislature that we not adopt a system that inflates the cost for the consumer,” he said, adding that S.B. 216 addresses that concern.

He said it’s too early to know whether he will support the bill, that bills go through many changes from the time they are introduced in a committee to the time they reach the floor for a vote. For this reason, he said, he only knows the bill’s concept at this point and is not sure how it may impact wind projects.

Noting he supported the bill that includes the energy standards Jordan opposes, state Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney) said Monday he hadn’t read the entire bill, but emailed the following statement: “It would be my assessment that if passed, Senate Bill 216 would likely have a detrimental effect for wind projects in Ohio.”

Source:  KATHLEEN FOX, Assistant Editor. The Urbana Daily Citizen, www.urbanacitizen.com 28 September 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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