Proposed Ohio Energy Bill Would Remove Standards, Bailout Nuclear Plants

May 15, 2019 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Currently under consideration, Ohio HB6 would:

  • Remove the state's energy efficiency and renewable energy portfolio standards

  • Remove a rider on Ohio electric bills that funds successful energy efficiency and renewable energy programs

  • Replace it with a new surcharge on Ohio electric bills, the majority of which would go to bail out two nuclear plants in Northern Ohio

The bill would create a "Clean Air Program Fund" which is designed to send the majority of the funding ($169 Million) to FirstEnergy Solutions. While there are provisions that make energy efficiency and renewables sector eligible for some of the funds, there are arbitrary restrictions in recent versions of the bill making it so that none of Ohio's solar and wind farms would qualify.

The two nuclear plants do currently employ many people in Northern Ohio and generate 88% of Ohio's carbon-free energy (15% of our total electricity). If they close down it is likely that much of that generation would shift to natural gas.

While it may be beneficial to keep the plants operational as the renewable energy sector continues to grow, members of Green Umbrella’s Energy Action Team do not support de-funding existing programs that benefit Southwestern Ohio residents and businesses in order to shift that funding out of the region to bail out FirstEnergy Solutions.

Democrats have responded by introducing the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs plan, which would take the current 12.5% renewable portfolio standard up to 50%, fix setback requirements to encourage large-scale wind investment and require a 50% in-state preference for new renewable energy projects. It would also create job training programs in growing clean energy fields.

Republicans control the Ohio legislature by a wide margin and their bill has advanced to the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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