Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

Ohio State Senate Passes Amended Nuclear Subsidy Bill, Freezing the State’s RPS by 2026

Posted July 18th, 2019 by SRECTrade.

On July 17th, the Ohio State Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 6, which provides subsidies for two nuclear plants owned by bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions, coal plants, and utility-scale solar. Just as notably, the bill calls for a permanent freeze of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) at 8.5% by 2026, a damaging blow to the state’s renewable energy sector. The Bill would also completely eliminate the state’s solar carve out beginning in 2020, gutting a key incentive mechanism for distributed generation solar in the state. Although it is still unclear, ohio-sited solar assets previously participating in the Ohio Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, would likely be eligible for the Pennsylvania Tier I REC and Ohio REC market, should the Bill go into law.

After the Ohio House passed a version of House Bill 6 on May 29th, the Bill moved to the Senate where it was met with controversy by lawmakers and stakeholders alike. After a number of amendments to the Bill, including the removal of a provision that would have stunted wind development, it passed on Wednesday morning on the Senate floor. It now goes to the Ohio House for a concurrence vote, where it is expected to be taken up on August 1st.

Ohio House Advances Nuclear Subsidy Bill that Would Eliminate the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

Posted May 31st, 2019 by SRECTrade.
The Davis-Basse Nuclear Power Station will be subsidized under Ohio House Bill 6. Source: News-Herald

On Wednesday, May 29th, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 6 (HB 6) 53-43 that would repeal the state’s renewable energy mandate and replace it with a nuclear subsidy program under the moniker “Clean Air Program”. This nuclear subsidy program would help bailout two ailing nuclear power plants in Ohio owned by bankrupt utility FirstEnergy Solutions by adding a $1 surcharge on customers’ monthly utility bills. The program would also extend a surcharge of $2.50 per month through 2030 to support ailing coal plants across the state.

The bill would eliminate the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in Ohio, a key component to maintaining the financial viability of renewables compared with other fossil-fuel based electricity generation resources. As such, nearly all renewable assets generating OH-certified renewable energy credit (REC) or solar renewable energy credit (SREC) products would cease to generate these credits as of the effective date of the bill. Additionally, the bill would do away with the nearly $200 million program to fund energy efficiency and demand response initiatives, which saved Ohio customers over $5 billion from 2009 to 2017, according to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

The bill now moves on to the Ohio Senate. While state senators have not publicly voiced their support of the bill, outspoken support from Governor Mike DeWine and the Republican majority in the senate gives the bill momentum to pass.

SRECTrade strongly urges constituents and market stakeholders to reach out to members of the Ohio State Senate and voice their concern with this Bill. The Senate directory can be found here. SRECTrade will continue monitoring these policy proceedings closely and provide updates.

Gov. Kasich Vetoes Bill Threatening to Weaken OH RPS

Posted December 28th, 2016 by SRECTrade.

Yesterday, Gov. Kasich released his decision to veto Substitute HB554, a bill designed to weaken Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard by converting its compliance standards to voluntary targets for the next three years. The bill, which passed in the Ohio Legislature earlier this month, would follow the state’s two-year RPS freeze, which drastically impacted Ohio’s renewable energy industry, resulting in slow growth and job losses.

Renewable energy and environmental advocates, along with a coalition of Ohio’s business leaders, urged Gov. Kasich to veto the detrimental bill and to focus instead on bolstering the state’s renewable energy economy. Through his veto, Gov. Kasich stood by his position for reinstatement of the RPS, rather than allowing for the GOP to renege on the state’s clean energy goals.

In his veto, Gov. Kasich said that the bill would undermine the state’s progress to date, dealing a “setback to efforts that are succeeding in helping businesses and homeowners reduce their energy costs through increased efficiency” to the tune of “$1.03 billion in savings to date … [and] … $4.15 billion in lifetime savings.” He encouraged the General Assembly to “advance strategies for helping ensure competitive energy costs” and to preserve and expand upon the job growth generated by high technology firms in the renewables industry.

While opponents of the bill hope that Gov. Kasich’s veto sends a message to progress the RPS, the Legislature could override his veto in the next session, which begins on January 9. A three-fifths vote (at least 60 of 99 in the House and at least 20 of 33 in the Senate) would be needed to override the veto. The bill originally passed 56-34 in the House and 18-13 in the Senate.

Urge Gov. Kasich to Veto HB554 and Revive Ohio’s Renewable Energy Industry

Posted December 16th, 2016 by SRECTrade.

Since early November, the Ohio Legislature has been working on bills to address the imminent thawing of the state’s frozen RPS–which has been stalled at 2014 levels for the past two years. Without legislative action, the standards would resume their upward trajectory moving forward, but members of the Ohio Legislature have instead set forth bills that would weaken the RPS and cause even more harm to the state’s suffering renewable energy industry. On December 15, after passing in the Senate and in the House, 18-13 and 56-34, respectively, HB554 was sent to Governor Kasich’s desk for signature or veto. The bill would make the state’s RPS obligations optional for two years (after which they would resume as mandates), ensuring the continued stagnation of the state’s renewable energy economy for another two years.

During the 2014-16 freeze, utility companies reduced–or in some cases completely suspended–renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and services. Clean energy companies had no choice but to leave Ohio. As a result, Ohio’s wind industry lost more than 1,400 jobs in 2015 alone. Today, Ohio’s projected growth for clean jobs is only at 4.9%. In order to get back on track, the industry needs a jolt of support that can only come from the reinstatement (or better yet, a bolstering) of the RPS and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS).

While proponents of the bill claim that switching the energy standards to optional would reduce costs, opponents of the bill know that optional standards are the functional equivalent of having no standards at all. Senator Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, who represents a district with hundreds of wind farms, knows that optional standards will not work–for the same reason why good coaches don’t have optional practices.

Earlier this year, while seeking the Republication nomination for President, Gov. Kasich told a New Hampshire crowd that he would reinstate the RPS if the legislature attempted to gut the policies. Now, all eyes are on Gov. Kasich to see whether he sticks to his campaign words from January and helps the renewable energy economy get back on the right track. Environmental advocates and opponents of the bill urge constituents to call the Governor’s Office and urge him to veto the bill. You can call his Office today at (614) 466-3555.

The bill hit Gov. Kasich’s desk late on December 15, so he has until midnight on December 28 to veto the bill.

Clean Energy Advocates Urge Gov. Kasich & Ohio Lawmakers to Reinstate Frozen RPS

Posted November 3rd, 2016 by SRECTrade.

Two years ago, Ohio took a gamble with the state’s renewable energy industry by imposing a two-year freeze on Ohio’s energy efficiency (EERS) and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). With the freeze due to expire at the end of the year, state lawmakers are evaluating potential paths for lifting the freeze, including opposing options to either bolster the RPS moving forward or convert the RPS to a voluntary program. As state lawmakers look to vote on proposals shortly after the November 8th General Election, nine companies have stood up in support of reinstating–and strengthening–Ohio’s energy efficiency and RPS, alongside the state’s many clean energy advocates.

It is clear to many that the RPS freeze was a failed experiment for Ohio. The RPS has provided many benefits to Ohio residents, including the creation of thousands of new clean energy jobs and the infusion of more than $160 million in annual GDP from the clean energy sector. During the freeze, however, utility companies reduced–or in some cases completely suspended–renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and services. Clean energy companies had no choice but to leave Ohio. As a result, Ohio’s wind industry lost more than 1,400 jobs in 2015 alone. Today, Ohio’s projected growth for clean jobs is only at 4.9%. In order to get back on track, the industry needs a jolt of support that can only come from the reinstatement of the RPS and EERS.

In an effort to show solidarity with the clean energy industry, nine companies teamed up behind sustainability advocate Ceres Inc., encouraging lawmakers to consider more–not less–aggressive RPS and EERS policies. The companies, including giants such as Campbell Soup, Clif Bar, Gap, Nestle, and Whirlpool, collectively employ more than 25,000 people in Ohio. Each company issued individual statements in support of the coalition’s request.

Gap Inc.’s Director, Environmental Impact, Christina Nicholson urged lawmakers to act. “The time to act is now. We urge leaders in Ohio to lift the freeze on the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Clean energy policies are smart and will build a stronger and more resilient Ohio. As a company with a large presence in the state, energy efficiency and renewable energy is important to our business and our future. We’ve set an ambitious goal to reduce our GHG emissions by 50% by 2020, and we encourage Ohio’s leaders to help us all move toward a clean energy future.”

Other groups, including Ohio Citizen Action, are also actively advocating for stronger environmental standards. The group is hosting a Climate Action Rally and Press Conference on November 16th to encourage Governor Kasich to take a stand against those trying to skirt or otherwise weaken the reinstatement of the RPS. Earlier this year, while seeking the Republication nomination for President, Gov. Kasich told a New Hampshire crowd that he would reinstate the RPS if the legislature attempted to gut the policies, even though he considered the original RPS to be “unpalatable”. Given the legislature’s current position on the issue, all eyes are on Gov. Kasich to see whether he sticks to his campaign words from January and pressures the Legislature to reinstate the RPS and EERS without further delay.

Proposed Bill to Revive OH RPS

Posted March 20th, 2016 by SRECTrade.

In 2014, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill that froze Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) at 2014 levels for 2 years. The RPS has been locked at 2.5% while the solar carve-out has been fixed at 0.12%. On February 22, 2016 Representative Fred Strahorn introduced House Bill 472 to the Public Utilities Committee, which, if passed, would reactivate the RPS. The proposed RPS and solar carve out schedule is as follows:

Capture

The Alternative Compliance payment (ACP) would stay at current levels, while the amount of renewable energy resources required would increase. SRECTrade is tracking HB472, and will provide an update when more information is available.

Ohio Revisits RPS for Post-freeze Plans

Posted February 21st, 2016 by SRECTrade.

In June 2014, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill that froze Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for two years. With the freeze lifting after 2016, Gov. Kasich called upon Ohio’s Energy Mandates Study Committee in 2015 to provide guidance on how to proceed with the state’s RPS. The 12-member legislative committee released its report in September 2015, recommending that the RPS be frozen indefinitely. Now, despite having signed the bill freezing the RPS in 2014, Gov. Kasich has taken the stance that gutting the state’s renewable mandates would be “unacceptable“, positioning himself for a fight with his General Assembly on the state’s clean energy goals.

Enacted in 2008, the Ohio Renewable Portfolio Standard establishes annual benchmarks for renewable energy procurement. The RPS sets the percent of electricity that must be generated from renewable energy resources by 2027. Within the overall RPS, a percentage must be fulfilled with solar resources. This solar carve-out establishes how many SRECs must be purchased by electricity suppliers. The overall RPS and solar carve-out were originally structured to increase annually between 2009 and 2024, but were frozen at 2014 levels through 2016. The RPS is currently frozen at 2.5%, with the solar carve-out at 0.12%. In the 2014 bill, the RPS schedule was revised to resume with a two year delay after the freeze, but it is possible that Gov. Kasich and Ohio’s General Assembly will now move the RPS in another direction.

SB310, the bill enacting the freeze, also removed the in-state RPS requirement and adjusted the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) schedule. The freeze and concurrent changes made to the RPS resulted in devaluing OH-eligible SRECs, harming those who invested in solar in reliance on the state’s commitment to clean energy. Since the bill passed in mid-2014, the value of OH SRECs has dropped from $45 to as low as $15.

While Gov. Kasich claims that the original Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard is “unpalatable“, he has vowed that he would return the program back to its original state if the General Assembly refuses to unfreeze the program. But Ohio’s mixed record on renewable energy and the recent developments on the Clean Power Plan make the future of the RPS uncertain. For now, Ohio joins many other states in the tug-of-war battle over renewable energy policies, making 2016 an important year in shaping the states’–and country’s–clean energy future.

 

Ohio SB 310 Signed into Law by Governor Kasich

Posted June 16th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

Friday, 6/13/2014,  Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Ohio SB 310, bringing about major changes for Ohio’s renewable energy economy. Most importantly, the bill will place a two year freeze on Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements and end Ohio’s in-state purchasing requirements for SRECs. Pro-business and pro-utilities interests insist that the original legislation set unrealistic goals and placed unnecessary economic strain on Ohio ratepayers, despite evidence that the costs were less than $5 annually per household.

Here are the details of how this bill will affect SREC producers in and around Ohio:

  • Ohio RPS requirement frozen at 2014 levels through 2016. The original RPS schedule will resume with a two year delay after the freeze. The adjusted schedules are detailed in the following table:

SB 310 Screenshot

  • Ohio’s Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) will be similarly frozen at 2014 levels through 2016. The SACP is currently set at $300, and after 2016 will begin to decline by $50 every two years to reach a minimum of $50 by 2026.
  • The 50% in-state purchasing requirement for SRECs has been eliminated. All of Ohio’s SRECs may now be purchased from adjacent states.

Because the freeze on the RPS and SACP requirements is set to this year’s levels, impacts of these changes will not be felt until the beginning of 2015. The end of the in-state purchasing requirement, however, is effective immediately.

Though presented as a bill to buy time for Ohio’s legislature to discuss a responsible path forward for their state’s renewable energy economy, SB 310 is a significant step in the wrong direction for Ohio’s renewable energy future.

OH State Legislature Passes Anti-Renewable Energy Bill with 53-38 Vote

Posted May 29th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

May 28, 2014 – The Ohio State House passed SB 310 in a historic 53-38 vote today. SB 310, touted as a pro-consumer, pro-business bill, weakens Ohio’s existing Alternative Energy Portfolio, calling it too expensive for Ohio ratepayers. This despite analysis that shows the actual cost to Ohio ratepayers is likely less than $5 per household per year. Instead, SB 310, freezes the current standards in place through 2016 and allows all of Ohio’s renewable energy requirement to be met by facilities located in Ohio and bordering states. Should Ohio Governor Kasich sign SB 310, (the bill passed the Ohio Senate on May 8, 2014), Ohio ratepayers will subsidize renewable energy in other states, without any state-level guarantee for renewable energy in Ohio itself.

Click here for Twitter-based public reaction.

Regardless of your sentiments about renewable energy, SB 310 is overtly anti-ratepayer and bad for renewable energy jobs in Ohio. This is a step back for Ohio’s renewable energy economy and sends a clear signal to the business community that Ohio’s commitments are not to be trusted.

SB 310 will be immediately sent to Governor Kasich’s desk to sign a day after his office launched a new OhioMeansJobs website. Kasich’s decision to veto or sign SB 310 will test the meaning of his commitment to Ohio’s economic future.

If you are an Ohio resident, please contact Governor Kasich’s office and let him know your opinion.

Governor Kasich

Phone Number: (614) 466-3555

Complete List of Kasich Office Staffers’ Names and Contact Information

 

 

Ohio House Public Utilities Committee Passes SB 310: Full House Vote Imminent

Posted May 27th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

Today, May 27, 2014, the Ohio State House Public Utilities Committee passed the House version of SB 310 by a vote of 13-9. It is likely that the Ohio House will vote on the bill sometime this week.  If passed by the House and signed by  Ohio Governor Kasich, SB 310 would freeze Ohio’s renewable energy targets through 2016 and allow all of the state’s renewable energy targets to be met by facilities located in Ohio and bordering states.  The bill already passed the Ohio Senate on May 8, 2014.

SB 310 faces clear opposition from members of Ohio’s business and renewable energy stakeholder groups. Notably the Ohio Manaufacturers’ Association (OMA) testified before the House Public Utilities Committee on May 14th saying that SB 310 is bad for business. SB 310 is a step back for renewable energy advocates in Ohio and as written does not serve the general interests of Ohio ratepayers. In effect, the bill would have Ohio ratepayers subsidize renewable energy in other states while undermining the renewable energy economy within Ohio.

If you are an Ohio resident with an interest in continuing to grow Ohio’s clean energy industry, please use this list to express your point of view by contacting your State House Representative.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory

SRECTrade will continue to posts updates as appropriate.