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AEE Opposes House Bill 114, Says It Would Kill Ohio Jobs

March 21, 2016
Advanced Energy Economy

Following Gov. Kasich’s veto last year, legislative attacks on advanced energy continue as the House fast-tracks bill that would cost Ohio a $10 billion market opportunity from reinstated energy standards, business group says

Columbus, Ohio, March 21, 2017—Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy provided the following statement and testimony about Ohio’s House Public Utilities Committee hearing on House Bill 114, a bill that is considered worse for the advanced energy industry than HB554, the bill vetoed by Gov. Kasich last year. According to AEE, HB114 would be a job-killer in Ohio, depriving the state of $10 billion in advanced energy market opportunities created by reinstatement of the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards January 1, as a result of the Governor’s veto.

“After a strong signal from Gov. Kasich that Ohio is open for business in advanced energy, it is unfortunate that the House is trying to rush through legislation that will send exactly the opposite signal,” said Ray Fakhoury, State Policy Associate at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “HB 114 is being offered as an economic benefit to Ohio, but it’s not. HB 114 is a job-killer that will also cost consumers on their electric bills.”

“As a major employer in northwest Ohio and a center of solar technology innovation, we oppose HB114," said Mike Koralewski, Sr. Vice President of Global Manufacturing at First Solar. "Our Perrysburg facility is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing site in the United States. House Bill 114 would be a step backward for Ohio, making it more difficult to leverage increasingly competitive, locally manufactured utility-scale solar projects that customers large and small demand in greater numbers every year."

About Advanced Energy Economy

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE and its State and Regional Partner organizations are active in 27 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy industry. Visit AEE online at www.aee.net.

 


 

Gov. Kasich’s Veto Creates $10B Market Opportunity, But Ohio’s Energy Future is Far from Settled

January 12, 2017
Ray Fakhoury | Ted Ford

Ohio gained national attention in the closing days of lame duck session as the legislature and Gov. John Kasich squared off over the future of state’s energy standards. Despite the Governor’s clear signal that he would veto any extension of the freeze instituted two years ago, the Ohio General Assembly passed HB554, which would have extended the freeze on the state’s energy standards by turning the benchmark requirements into voluntary goals for the state’s utilities through 2019. Despite the efforts of legislative leaders, who sought to pass the bill with veto-proof majorities, the vote fell short of reaching the threshold needed for an override. That set the stage for some end-of-session drama.

AEE and Ohio AEE were joined by other organizations and more than 70 businesses to testify in opposition to the bill. Thanks to this strong opposition to the bill, a number of Republican legislators sided with Gov. Kasich and voted against extending the freeze, depriving the bill of veto-proof majorities. Sticking to his principles, Gov. Kasich vetoed the bill on the final day it could be on his desk, and just days before the December 31 expiration of the freeze on the RPS and EERS. With his veto, Gov. Kasich unleashed an advanced energy market opportunity of more than $10 billion – and sent a clear signal to the nation and to our industry that he is ready to fight for sensible energy policy that attracts high-tech companies and saves consumers money.

“Gov. Kasich’s decision will help ensure that Ohio can leverage increasingly competitive, locally manufactured utility-scale solar projects that customers large and small demand in greater numbers every year,” said Mike Koralewski, Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing at First Solar.

While many of the original RPS and EERS benchmarks have been reinstated, changes previously made (by SB310 in 2014) are unchanged. These include elimination of the in-state renewable energy purchasing provision, which required 50% of renewables purchased by utilities to come from Ohio generation, and watered-down provisions regarding what counts towards energy efficiency. Finally, the veto of HB 554 does nothing to address the onerous wind setback requirements adopted separately in 2014.

Nor has the veto secured Ohio’s advanced energy future. Energy will once again be a top priority for the Governor and Ohio lawmakers in 2017.

For starters, leaders in the Republican-controlled House have signaled their intent to resurrect HB 554 in the new session now underway and pass it once more, this time with a veto-proof majority. The primary sponsor, former State Sen. Bill Seitz (now back in the House of Representatives due to term limits), has even threatened to seek a full repeal of the RPS and EERS in 2017. Senate leaders, however, have indicated that they would like to take a more deliberative approach, in hopes of establishing a comprehensive, long-term energy strategy for the state, rather than just pulling the plug on successful energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.

This session, the legislature will be looking to address not only the EERS and RPS but also wind setback requirements, as well as deal with calls from First Energy and AEP Ohio for re-regulation of some of their generating assets, possibly including future renewable energy projects. Given that so many of the utilities’ former assets are now owned and operated by independent power producers who compete with them, re-regulation promises to be a major battle.

After more than two years of debate on energy, the Governor’s veto of HB 554 could be a turning point for Ohio, but nothing is certain. AEE will continue to advocate strongly for competitive markets and meaningful, enforceable standards to keep Ohio on the path to an advanced energy future.


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Ohio Veto Coverage Round-up

December 30, 2016
Various Authors

On December 27, Governor Kasich vetoed Ohio's Substitute House Bill 554. The bill would have further weakened the state’s energy standards by turning the requirement for utilities to purchase renewable energy and invest in energy efficiency into voluntary goals, with no compliance obligations, through 2019. With Governor Kasich’s veto, the standards frozen two years ago are set to be reinstated on January 1, 2017.

AEE released a statement, which you can read in full here. AEE's reactions that were reported in both Ohio press and trade press. Here is a round up:

  


  

Greentech Media Quotes AEE’s J.R. Tolbert & OAEE’s Ted Ford regarding Ohio’s passage of HB554

December 12, 2016
Julia Pyper | Greentech Media

Cleavland's Plain Dealer covered reactions to Gov. Kasich's veto of House Bill 554, including AEE Ohio's. From the article:

Kasich's veto follows a campaign by environmental, business and consumer groups opposing the legislation.

Many of them celebrated the veto on Tuesday. Here are some of their comments. [...]

Advanced Energy Economy:

Today, Governor Kasich's principled leadership has given Ohio an opportunity to get back on track," said J.R. Tolbert, vice president for state policy. "He stood behind his commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency, allowing Ohio to regain its competitive advantage nationally. "Governor Kasich understands that renewable energy and energy efficiency create jobs and save money. That's a formula that is good for business and good for every Ohioan."

"The two-year freeze has cost Ohio jobs and investments. In the last three years, while Ohio has been idling, Michigan has attracted over $1.1 billion in renewable energy investments," said Ted Ford, president of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy.

Read the full article here.

  


  

The Plain Dealer Covers Ohio AEE's Celebration of Veto

December 27, 2016
John Funk | The Plain Dealer

During the 11th hour of lame duck session, Ohio lawmakers have passed a bill, HB554, that would allow utilities to continue ignoring the state’s renewable energy targets for the next two years.

“Ohio is losing its competitive advantage, pushing businesses to neighboring states. Uncertainty prevents businesses that employ 100,000 Ohioans from developing long-term investment strategies within the state,” said Ted Ford, president of Ohio AEE, in a statement. “Continuing the freeze without understanding the impacts it will have on Ohio’s competitiveness and reputation is a mistake.”

Through modeling work, AEE has demonstrated how Ohio can meet its energy demand cost-effectively through a variety of resources, including renewables and efficiency.

“Lawmakers are opting to turn down $3.3 billion in savings for the state and $192 in annual savings for the average household in 2027 by failing to capitalize on advanced energy technologies,” said J.R. Tolbert, AEE’s vice president for state policy. “That’s a real shame.


Read the full article here.