House Republicans, in general, contend that business decisions are better directed by the market than by government, and I am no exception to that rule. Often, mandates established by the government prove to be burdensome and costly to business and ultimately, to consumers onto whom costs are passed. It is imperative to consider whether specific mandates do as much good as they are intended to and how we can remedy any that do more harm than good.


House Bill 114 recently passed out of the Ohio House with bipartisan support, and now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate. This bill reforms Ohio’s law on renewable energy to remove mandates—instead, making them optional—and decreases the state’s energy efficiency benchmarks from approximately 22 percent to 17 percent. As such, House Bill 114 promotes the idea of freer and fairer markets in Ohio’s energy industry.


This piece of legislation is important and necessary for a several reasons. First, it helps reduce unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers by replacing often financially burdensome mandates with goals and incentives. This retains benchmarks for energy companies looking to increase production of renewable energy without the heavy-handed influence of government. Customers and businesses, however, may opt out of renewable energy goals without facing penalties for not meeting benchmarks on the purchase of renewable energy.
 
Further, many companies are already moving in the direction of renewable energy, even without the mandates in place. By freeing up energy markets, House Bill 114 allows positive outcomes in the energy field while removing a command and control approach that frequently proves harmful to the economic interests of our state. On the flipside, the maintenance of such renewable portfolio mandates can actually discourage businesses from moving to Ohio that had previously expressed interest in the Buckeye state, contingent on its having retained renewable energy mandates.
 
In the end, House Bill 114 boils down to eliminating those same mandates and promoting a free-market system. It is not a stance against green energy per se; on the contrary, this bill allows companies to continue devoting resources to renewable energy, but without putting ratepayers at risk of higher costs. Encouraging free markets in Ohio’s energy sector is vital to growth, and House Bill 114 helps us down the path of economic prosperity and attractive business climate. That is a win for consumers and for our state as a whole.

 
 
 
  
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