State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today criticized the passage of House Bill (HB) 554, saying legislation that changes the state’s energy efficiency standards to unenforceable “goals” through 2019 will harm consumers and jeopardize thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry.
“Passing this bill threatens local businesses like First Solar, who employs twelve-hundred people here in Northwest Ohio,” said Sheehy. “House Bill 554 is a reckless measure that will act as an impediment to the growth of the renewable energy industry – both solar and wind. I believe this legislation puts the special interests of big business over the interests of Ohio consumers.”
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.
The nation and world’s leading companies are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources to power their businesses. Some of the largest corporate brands – including Apple, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Facebook, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, Walmart and more – have all publicly pledged to procure 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by a certain date in the near future.
Amazon Web Services, Inc., an Amazon.com subsidiary, recently announced plans to build a $300 million wind farm in Hardin County, Ohio, in addition to their 100-megawatt wind farm in nearby Paulding County that is expected to start producing electricity next May.
Thanks to the state energy efficiency standards, Ohio had an opportunity to position itself as a leader in the burgeoning renewable energy industry. The future of the roughly 7,200 Ohio businesses and approximately 89,000 Ohio workers currently supported by Ohio’s clean energy industry is now uncertain following the passage of HB 554.