The Big Freeze in Ohio - Update

For once Ohio and freeze are in the same sentence and it is not about the weather. I am talking about the renewable energy freeze. The 2 year renewable energy freeze that Gov. Kasich signed into law in 2014. This issue might not come up on the campaign trail but it is happening right now in Ohio.


Ohio is a huge energy player. Besides our huge involvement in shale, we have solar farms, Amazon is building a huge wind farm and we have 2 nuclear power plants. Ohio is also at the forefront of switching to natural gas powered electricity instead of coal powered.


With all this innovation in energy why the freeze in the first place? Also will the freeze end?


Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler told the Toledo Blade a continued freeze is "off the table" for the governor. If the Ohio legislature does nothing the freeze will expire and we will go back to the renewable standards that were put in place before the freeze. Those standards were that Ohio's utilities generate a quarter of their power via alternative energy sources by 2025 which was a law from 2008.


From 2015 stats Ohio is ranked 49th with only 2.13% of our state’s power being produced by renewable sources. That is far off from 25% and if that 2008 law was unfrozen we would have less than 10 years to get to that point.


One of the reasons for the freeze was that power companies said the increasing standards were costly, especially in light of natural gas, a nonrenewable energy form that is much cheaper and prevalent for utilities today than it was when the alternative-energy law was passed. I feel that within these two years renewable energy has gotten cheaper, thus why the freeze needs to end.


What happened to an open market? Shouldn’t we have options for all different energy sources?


It is likely something will be done about the freeze before the end of the year, but what? Will we go back to the 2008 renewable standards? Or will the legislature decided differently? And one last question, will Gov. Kasich be too busy on the campaign trail to really focus properly on this issue?


Ohio needs more renewable energy. The people deserve to decide where their power comes from. Also, more energy means more jobs. Since the downturn in shale, this could be an option for those people out of work. There are a lot of unanswered questions, hopefully in the coming months some of those get answered and Ohio unthaws it’s renewable energy stance.


An Update from Cleveland.com


Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, introduced a bill on Monday that would extend a freeze on the state's renewable energy standards for another three years.

After lifting the freeze in 2019, Senate Bill 320 would phase in renewable energy goals in three-year increments through 2028. Utilities would be required to obtain 5.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources in 2022, 8.5 percent in 2025 and 11.5 percent in 2028. Starting in 2029, the goal would be 12.5 percent.

If the freeze is allowed to expire, utilities would be required to meet th 12.5 percent goal by 2027.

Seitz said in a telephone interview Monday evening that he expects debate over  Senate Bill 320 to be contentious and that believes the bill will probably pass along partisan lines.

Seitz said an extension of the freeze is necessary because of uncertainty over proposed federal regulations in President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which has been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

He said he wants to make sure mandates in the federal plan are in sync with those of the state.

Add new comment