State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today criticized the passage of House Bill (HB) 114, saying legislation that changes the state’s advanced energy standards to unenforceable “goals” will harm consumers and jeopardize thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry and other industries that increasingly want and rely on advanced energy sources. The bill was fast-tracked through the House Public Utilities Committee after similar legislation last General Assembly successfully passed the Legislature but was later vetoed by the governor. 


“The Department of Defense recognizes that our economic and national security are directly related to our ability to find alternative energy sources,” said Boccieri. “Ohio has increased jobs, efficiency and cost savings with our renewable portfolio and instead of driving innovations, new technologies and multiple sources of energy, this bill sounds the trumpet of retreat.”  


About 7,200 businesses and approximately 89,000 workers are directly employed in Ohio’s clean energy sector, and the nation and world’s leading companies are increasingly turning to advanced energy sources to power their businesses. On Tuesday, global home furnishing retailer Ikea announced it has completed a 213,000 square foot solar array on its soon-to-open store in central Ohio, one of the largest such arrays in the state.   


“In the Mahoning Valley in general, and Youngstown in particular, we’ve seen first-hand the ways in which innovation, research and development can drive economic growth and job creation. YSU’s America Makes program has made Youngstown the focal point of the cutting-edge 3D printing industry, allowing companies like 4M technologies to lead a manufacturing revolution,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “Now, unfortunately and inexplicably, the Republicans want us to walk away from one of the most vibrant and exciting areas of development that will power business expansion, give our universities an opportunity to monetize the research they do, create good jobs in a 21st century industry and save consumers billions of dollars, all while protecting our environment. Instead of being first in line for the type investment clean energy jobs attract, the GOP has decided we should give up our place and walk to the back of the line.” 


Several national companies have come out in opposition to HB 114, including Cliff Bar & Co., IKEA, JLL, Nestlé, Trillium Asset Management, Whirlpool Corporation, Dow, Schneider Electric, Ingersoll Rand, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. 


In addition to changing the state’s energy efficiency standards to goals, HB 114 also allows corporations to bypass additional charges on Ohio consumers from utility companies designed to recoup the cost of advanced energy.   


Ohio’s energy efficiency standards were originally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2008. According to various reports, the standards have since saved consumers over $1 billion in energy costs, helped create thousands of jobs in the state’s advanced energy industry, and were on track to reduce an estimated 23 million tons of annual carbon pollution by 2029, helping prevent thousands of lost work days, asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths. Just this week, a new report showed that Ohio gained more than 1,000 jobs related to solar power alone in 2016, though that rate of growth ranks slightly below the national average. 


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