Ohio freezes RPS with new law

Governor John Kasich has signed a bill into law that imposes a two-year freeze on Ohio’s renewables mandate and energy efficiency programs, prompting a “disappointed” US wind industry response.

All electricity providers except municipal utilities and electric cooperatives now have until 2027 to obtain 12.5% of their retail power supply versus 2025 as required by the original 2008 mandate.

Affected utilities had been required this year to obtain 2.5% with a solar carve-out of a bit more than one-tenth of one percent of that amount.

Kasich, a Republican, who has said Ohio needs renewable energy as part of its future energy mix, earlier quashed party efforts to do away with the mandate altogether. It was passed by the legislature during the administration of predecessor Ted Strickland, a Democrat.

The American Wind Energy Association claims the new law will have a “chilling effect” on renewable energy development in the state.

“It may encourage developers and manufacturers to move to neighboring states with similar resources and friendlier business climates,” the trade group says in a statement. It estimates Ohio wind projects in development represent potential $2.5bn investment.

Statewide group Environment Ohio noted that the clean energy law has been successful to encourage the development of clean, renewable energy.

“After starting from almost nothing, we’re now generating enough renewable energy to power over 100,000 homes and have saved Ohioans over a billion dollars on their electric bills through energy efficiency programs," says Christian Adams, state associate at Environment Ohio.

“At the end of the day, he sided with polluting industries rather than a commitment to cleaner air and a clean energy future for Ohio," he alleges.

AWEA also repeated its earlier call for Kasich to use his line item veto to strike a tougher turbine setback provision from a separate bill. House Bill 483 proposes to apply a 1,300-foot setback from the nearest property line, as well as the closest home.