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Ohio GOP targets clean energy standards, efficiency rules  

Credit:  By John Funk, The Plain Dealer | February 14, 2017 | www.cleveland.com ~~

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s been just six weeks since Gov. John Kasich vetoed a GOP bill that would have delayed for another two years mandates requiring power companies to sell an increasing percentage of renewable energy and help customers use less power.

Rep. Louis Blessing, III, R-Cincinnati, began circulating a memo to House members Monday seeking co-sponsors for new legislation reducing state green energy and energy efficiency requirements on power companies.

Kasich’s Dec. 27  veto of House Bill 554 meant a return to mandates requiring that by 2027 at least 12.5 percent of a power company’s sales be generated by renewable technologies like wind farms and solar arrays.

The governor’s veto also re-set the rules on energy efficiency, returning them to previous rules requiring that by 2027, the state’s electric utilities cut customer peak demand by 22.5 percent compared with the highest demand in 2009.

Blessing could not be reached for immediate comment. But his widely circulated memo makes clear that the legislation will be an effort to re-play a version of the defeated H.B. 554.

“I will soon be introducing legislation to revise Ohio Revised Code provisions that govern renewable energy, energy efficiency, and peak demand reductions,” Blessing wrote.

The legislation Blessing has in mind would, according to his memo:

  • Make renewable standards goals rather than mandates.
  • Clarify the law so that all energy goals and standards would end in 2027.
  • Change efficiency standard compliance to every three years rather than every year, meaning fewer reports to state regulators and more time to meet the annual benchmarks.
  • Reduce the 22.5 percent final energy efficiency target of 2027 to 17.2 percent.

The bill would also allow all customers, including residential customers, to opt out of paying for either efficiency programs or power company charges connected with the renewable standards.

As expected, the bill does nothing to alter restrictive wind turbine standards lawmakers enacted in 2014 in an unrelated budget bill. The setback rules have prevented the building of new wind farms. 

Source:  By John Funk, The Plain Dealer | February 14, 2017 | www.cleveland.com

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