Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Economic Damage from Freezing Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Provides Cautionary Tale for Other States
Press Release

RELEASE: Economic Damage from Freezing Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Provides Cautionary Tale for Other States

Washington, D.C. — Last year, Ohio froze its successful renewable energy and energy-efficiency standards, making it the first state to do so. The Center for American Progress interviewed business leaders across Ohio to understand the harmful impacts of the freeze on investment and jobs in the state. CAP’s brief serves as a cautionary tale for other states considering actions to roll back or repeal their standards.

Ohio’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency standards were passed in 2008 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The standards proved to be remarkably successful, resulting in increased investment, employment, and savings for ratepayers. In 2014, at the urging of the energy company FirstEnergy, the Ohio legislature voted to freeze the state’s standards. It also voted to dramatically increase the setback requirements for wind turbines. Interestingly, FirstEnergy subsequently submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed Clean Power Plan, arguing that Ohio should have to meet less stringent carbon-pollution reduction targets because the state legislature blocked progress on clean energy.

“Ohio was becoming a leader on clean energy,” said Greg Dotson, CAP Vice President for Energy Policy. “By freezing the state’s clean energy standards, Ohio’s legislature stopped the state’s progress in its tracks. We spoke with many Ohio business leaders who lamented the uncertainty created by the freeze and told us that it has chilled new hiring and investment. Any state considering a repeal of their clean energy policies should look to Ohio as a perfect example of what not to do.”

“The freeze hinders growth in the state of Ohio,” said Ohio State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D). “To people who are engaging in business around renewable energy, we look like we’re not serious about it, which has hurt the state economically. Those folks can invest their money in a lot of places, and if they think Ohio is unstable in terms of support for renewable energy, they’re going to take their money and go to some other state.”

“Dovetail is pleased that the Center for American Progress has produced this detailed, factual report on how S.B. 310—the bill that froze the standards—is in reality an anti-jobs bill that is moving Ohio backwards by diminishing the opportunity to capitalize on the billions of dollars of clean energy and energy-efficiency investments that are being made in numerous other states and around the world,” said Al Frasz, president of Dovetail Solar and Wind. “Hopefully this report will serve to educate legislators and the governor on the big mistake that was made and motivate a reversal of S.B. 310.”

Click here to read the issue brief.
Click here for a fact sheet listing the states where legislation has been introduced in 2015 to repeal or weaken clean energy standards.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.


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