On Wednesday, State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) voted against Senate Bill 310, legislation to suspend Ohio’s—by most accounts, successful—advanced energy standards. The bill makes Ohio the first state to reverse Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) by eliminating targets for advanced energy and freezing targets for renewable energy.
“The passage of Senate Bill 310 is totally unjustifiable and completely immoral,” said Rep. Foley. “Not only will this bill have serious economic repercussions for Ohio, but Senate Bill 310 will also have adverse environmental effects.”
In 2008, the Ohio legislature passed RPS with overwhelming bipartisan support. Over the past six years, these energy standards helped create thousands of jobs and saved Ohio ratepayers $1.03 billion with over $4 billion in potential savings projected over the next 10 years. Ohio’s energy efficiency standards reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over a million tons in last year. It is estimated that by 2020 Ohio could see a reduction of over 9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Ohio has made great progress in diversifying our energy sources and reducing the amount of pollutants we put into the air,” said Rep. Foley. “This General Assembly, however, seems bound and determined to drag Ohio backward and jeopardize our efforts to create green jobs and mitigate our impact on the environment.”
Projections estimate that if the standards were kept in place, Ohio consumers and businesses would enjoy over $4 billion in potential savings over the next 10 years. With the two-year freeze, however, Ohio energy rates will increase for ratepayers by $150, while rates will increase for commercial customers by $31,000. The energy standards freeze could result in a $6 billion loss of potential capital investment.
The controversial bill was widely expected to pass the House last week, but the bill was pulled from the committee schedule at the last minute. After struggling to find support from their members, the GOP pushed the bill through committee Tuesday.