Ohio Governor signs bill pausing renewable-energy goals

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014

Republican Gov. John Kasich on Friday signed into law a bill delaying the phase-in of the state’s renewable-energy and efficiency targets and repealing advanced-energy mandates put in place in 2008.

The law puts a two-year hold on renewables targets in a compromise Kasich backed to avoid a full repeal being pushed in the state Senate. The thresholds, to be maintained at current levels next year and in 2016, resume in 2017 if the state Legislature fails to act.

The law also creates a study panel of lawmakers to review the impacts of Ohio’s clean-energy standard and sets out that the Legislature’s aim is a permanent repeal.

The governor signed the bill over the objections of advanced-energy businesses, environmentalists, civil-rights advocates and faith leaders.

Renewable-energy sources include wind, solar and tidal power. Advanced-energy sources include nuclear power and clean coal.

The 2008 law, passed under Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, required energy companies to sell a combined 25 percent of their electricity produced from renewable and advanced sources by 2025. Strickland, from Ohio’s coal-rich Appalachian region, included clean coal among acceptable advanced sources, along with co-generation and advanced nuclear power.

Before Friday’s signing, 29 states and the District of Columbia had adopted renewable portfolio standards, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

The push to revisit the standards was led by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a policy advisory group dominated by Republicans and funded by corporations. Ohio is among states to which the council provided model legislation, dubbed the Electricity Freedom Act, that eliminated renewable targets.

Last year, lawmakers in 17 states considered 30 bills to repeal the standards, though none passed, according to data compiled by the NCSL.