Controversies

GOP lawmaker confronts Kasich on Ohio's green-energy mandates

In the final days of 2016, Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed legislation that would have delayed the state’s renewable energy mandates from going into effect for two years. Instead, they are set to resume this year.

Now state Rep. Bill Seitz is pushing to get rid of these costly regulations altogether.

Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards require utility companies to derive an increasing share of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. By 2025, 12.5 percent of utility power must be generated from renewable energy. Financial penalties are imposed for failure to meet the mandate. Ohio utilities currently derive 2.5 percent of their electricity from renewables.

The Ohio Legislature imposed a two-year pause on these mandates in 2014 while a newly established Energy Mandates Study Committee examined whether Ohio should revive them. After the committee recommended legislators indefinitely suspend Ohio’s portfolio standards, the Legislature sent to Kasich’s desk a measure that would have delayed implementation until 2019.

Kasich vetoed the bill two days after Christmas. In a statement released with the veto, the governor said “Ohio cannot afford to take a step backward on the economic gains that we have made in recent years … and arbitrarily limiting Ohio’s energy generation options amounts to self-inflicted damage to both our state’s near and long-term economic competitiveness.”

In response, Seitz plans to introduce legislation this session that would extend Ohio’s renewable energy target deadline to 2027 and turn it into a voluntary goal instead of a state mandate.  These changes would effectively abolish Ohio’s renewable portfolio standards.

Click for more from Watchdog.org