Today, Ceres and members from the business community came out in opposition to House Bill 114, legislation that would make Ohio’s renewable standards voluntary, weaken energy efficiency standards and allow commercial and industrial customers who use more than 700,000 kWH per year to opt out of energy saving programs. The bill comes just three months after Governor Kasich vetoed a similar bill, HB 554, which nearly a dozen local companies opposed, citing their strong interest in enabling clean energy to grow in the Buckeye state. Among the companies pushing for stronger clean energy standards were Campbell Soup Company, Whirlpool, Nestlé, Owens Corning, Gap Inc., Clif Bar and others.
“Ohio’s clean energy standards enjoy significant support from the business community,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber, whose nonprofit group has helped organize meetings between lawmakers and businesses on the issue. “This new bill will only create prolonged uncertainty for businesses and investors operating in the state. Ohio lawmakers should dismiss this legislation and protect Ohio’s clean energy economy.”
The new legislation would change Ohio’s renewable standards into voluntary goals and reduce Ohio’s energy efficiency targets. HB 114 would reduce the state’s energy efficiency resource standard to 17 percent in 2027, from the original 22.5 percent target, and weaken the effectiveness of the standard by expanding what counts as efficiency improvements. The bill would also allow all customers to opt-out of the renewable energy standard. HB 114 would remove the requirements for utilities to invest in some of the most competitive and least-cost energy resources—renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Three years ago, Ohio became the first state to freeze its clean energy standards. These standards help business cut their energy costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices, and stay competitive. During the last legislative session, major businesses called on Ohio’s lawmakers to reinstate and strengthen Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
In December 2016, Governor Kasich vetoed HB 554, ensuring that Ohio’s clean energy standards would go back into effect this year. Following this veto, major businesses thanked Governor Kasich for reinstating the standards, stating that he has “sent a clear market signal that clean energy jobs, investment and innovation are welcome in Ohio.”
As lawmakers consider this legislation, we hope they’ll heed the recommendations of the business community and protect Ohio’s clean energy economy.