Ohio has already begun putting beyond in Beyond Coal, not just by retiring dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive coal-fired power plants, but by making sure job-creating and money-saving clean energy solutions are being installed. Renewable energy and energy efficiency have taken hold and are driving a clean energy economy with an estimated 105, 306 green jobs, the 6th most clean tech jobs in the country.
Wind is clean, cheap and abudent. Utility-scale wind farms that are installed locally provide millions in income to landowners and taxing bodies and Ohio's manufacturing roots are providing turbine components for the nation's supply chain. Onshore wind farms alone could generate enough electricity to meet 95.3% of Ohio’s energy needs. New wind industry businesses are popping up as demand increases, while existing manufacturing outfits are retooling their facilities to earn a spot in the wind energy supply chain. Ohio is home to 106 wind supply chain companies that support over 3,000 jobs, and current wind resources provide over $2.5 million in additional tax revenue to rural communities. 2011 it was a landmark year for wind in Ohio, with the installation of Iberdrola Renewables’s Blue Creek Wind Farm in Van Wert and Paulding counties, increasing the state's wind energy by a staggering 950% with this utility-scale project. At $600 million, the Blue Creek Wind Farm was the single largest private investment in the entire state.
Renew the Wind Tax Credit
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a federal policy that helps level the playing field and supports wind jobs, but is set to expire at the end of the year. If the PTC is allowed to expire, approximately half of all existing US wind jobs are expected to be lost before the end of the year, putting 3,000 Ohio jobs at risk and leaving pending wind energy installation in the balance -- something we can't afford during this tough economy. The Department of Energy says that we can get 20 percent of our power as a nation
from wind energy alone by 2030. This cannot happen without the PTC. Learn more at Sierra Club's Wind Works campaign
Solar is also a great way to create needed jobs in America. Generating power with solar creates seven times as many jobs as generating power with dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive fossil fuels like coal. Ohio has created an industry for solar that flexes our manufacturing muscles, with a strong focus on research and development at colleges and universities like the University of Toledo
. In the global market, Ohio is one of the top producers of solar materials, specializing in manufacturing a diversity of different solar technologies throughout the supply chain. Ohio hosts 160 companies
providing jobs in the solar industry, with 55 of those companies having manufacturing facilities that employ over 1,500 Ohioans
. In 2011, over $95 million was invested in solar installation making it the 12th largest investment in the country for the year.
Reducing energy waste through energy efficiency programs is the cleanest and cheapest way to meet Ohio’s energy needs. When individual energy users can make their homes and buildings more efficient by cutting out the waste, Ohio can reduce its total energy consumption. Reducing energy waste makes electricity more affordable, creates thousands of jobs, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels like coal, and displaces the need to build new power plants, preventing future carbon emissions. In Ohio, power utilities are required to offer programs which provide incentives and rebates to make energy efficiency affordable and accessible. Customers are incentivized to take advantage of these programs that they would not have otherwise, saving the customer money and reducing energy waste. Ohio is home to more than 1,130 companies that weatherize buildings, manufacture components for the efficiency industry, or sell efficient products. The state’s current energy trajectory for waste reduction targets are poised to create over 32,000 new jobs and cut energy consumption by 33% by 2025.
Ohio’s Clean Energy Law: S.B. 221
In 2008, through bipartisan support, Ohio’s Clean Energy Law (Senate Bill 221) was passed, paving the road for reducing Ohio’s energy consumption and diversifying the state’s energy portfolio with clean, local renewable energy. The state’s investor-owned utilities – AEP Ohio, Duke, FirstEnergy and Dayton Power and Light –provide the lion’s share of the state’s electric service, making them uniquely situated to provide cleaner, more affordable and efficient service. Ohio’s Clean Energy Law provides for state energy efficiency targets that reduce the state’s energy consumption and creates a renewable energy mandate. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is responsible for ensuring that investor-owned utilities are meeting Ohio’s Clean Energy Laws, and has sole discretion on the law’s implementation. Public Utilities Commissioners serve 4-year terms and are appointed by the standing Governor.
Cutting Energy Waste – Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
A penny saved is a penny earned – when Ohio saves energy, it is like creating a new energy resource. Ohio’s investor owned utilities are required to offer programs and rebates that create incentives for all types of customers to reduce their energy waste. Ohio utilities will meet increasing yearly energy reduction targets; by 2025 SB 221’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) will cumulatively reduce Ohio’s energy consumption by 22%, making electricity more affordable and reliable. Energy savings from customer energy efficiency programs can be realized at a one-third the cost of new power plants and reduce the need to install upgrade or replace very costly transmission and distribution equipment.
The Threat to Energy Efficiency in Ohio:
FirstEnergy is Ohio’s Bad Apple in reducing energy waste. Other utilities like AEP, Duke and Dayton Power and Light are going above and beyond the call of duty to eliminate energy waste, while FirstEnergy is dragging their feet, putting their customers at a disadvantage. FirstEnergy has requested waivers or barely met the minimum energy reduction targets in the past, while other utilities have excelled in meeting these requirements. Currently, FirstEnergy’s energy efficiency portfolio – a portfolio of efficiency programs and incentives that will serve as a roadmap to meeting future state efficiency targets – is awaiting approval at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is responsible for ensuring that the utilities energy waste reduction programs are part of an energy portfolio that provides adequate, safe and reliable power at a fair price. By holding FirstEnergy accountable and prioritizing efficiency, the Commission can ensure that customers have the cleanest and most cost effective programs to meet their energy needs.
Local, Renewable Energy – Ohio’s Renewable Energy Standard
Ohio’s Clean Energy law requires that Ohio’s investor-owned utilities must generate 12.5% of their energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, geo-thermal and biomass, by 2025. Half of the 12.5% must be generated within Ohio, providing guaranteed in-state economic benefits, and 0.5% of the 12.5% is carved out for solar energy. The state’s renewable energy standard is creating a local, clean energy economy and modernizing the way we produce energy by transitioning Ohio's energy portfolio away from outdated fossil fuel technology to climate-safe, renewable energy sources.