Press Releases

OAEE In The News



Letter to the Editor: Ohio wants clean energy

January 16, 2018
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio voters have spoken - they want clean energy and fast. Another poll released by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (GOP voters support green energy, oppose coal, nuclear bailouts, statewide poll finds, Jan. 10) unsurprisingly finds that voters, regardless of political affiliation and income levels, want the state to increase investments in technologies that generate clean energy. 

Further solidifying energy as a nonpartisan issue but as a significant economic development opportunity, nearly 80 percent of conservative and independent voters would encourage their lawmakers to support policies that take advantage of money-saving energy efficiency and competitive wind and solar. Since the standards were first put in place in 2008, Ohio has created over 105,000 jobs in renewables and energy efficiency.

Unfortunately, some Ohio lawmakers are attacking clean energy as costly while embracing a billion-dollar coal and nuclear bailout for profitable utilities that will be paid for by all consumers. 

Despite the public support, jobs, and economic growth, Ohio's lawmakers continue to undermine Ohio's competitive advantage by weakening its clean energy standards. Will Ohio send a clear message embracing lower cost clean energy and position itself to be a leader in the industry or will legislators learn the hard way in November?



Top 5 State Legislative Issues of 2017

December 14, 2017
Advanced Energy Economy Blog

Ohio Fails (again) to Unshackle its Wind Industry

Hundreds of millions of dollars in economic investment stay on the sidelines in Ohio due to the most stringent wind setback requirements in the nation. Three years ago, the legislature enacted these setback requirements, and they brought new wind development to a standstill.

Today, there is a projected $4.2 billion of wind investments that could be made in Ohio if the legislature would simply act. But the 2017 legislative session has seen a series of starts and stops for advocates and legislators looking for a wind setback fix.

The first opportunity for a fix was presented by the state budget, with proponents including AEE, AWEA, large energy consumers, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and others pushing for an amendment to be inserted. After extensive public hearings and legislative debate, the Senate included an amendment returning wind setback requirements to their previous, and sensible, levels in its version of the budget.

Continue reading on



Ohio Healthcare, Advanced Energy Business Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Support Renewables, Efficiency

December 6, 2017
Advanced Energy Economy

Columbus, Ohio, December 6, 2017 — Today, a group of Ohio healthcare providers and advanced energy companies released a letter calling on lawmakers to support a “comprehensive approach to Ohio’s energy policy” that would “value innovative technologies that institute energy efficiency and demand response as a resource and expand the deployment of advanced energy technologies that curb energy costs to consumers.” Signers of the letter include the Cleveland Clinic, the Ohio Hospital Association Energy and Sustainability Program, and CEOs of Mercy HealthMount Carmel Health System, and Tri-Health. Advanced energy business leaders signing the letter include executives from First SolarApex Clean EnergySiemens, and Melink Corp.

“Keeping our healthcare facilities operating without interruption during unplanned outages is critical to protecting all Ohioans,” said Rick Sites, Regulatory Counsel for the Ohio Hospital Association’s Energy and Sustainability Lead. “As such, we are seeing hospitals increasingly interested in powering their facilities with advanced energy technologies. These technologies also reduce operating costs, improve health outcomes, and fulfill hospital commitments to the communities they serve.” 

Specifically, the letter warns against efforts to weaken the state’s commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency investments, as well as putting barriers in the way of renewable energy growth, such as the state’s overly restrictive setback requirements for wind energy developments.

“Advanced energy makes sense from a business perspective because costs have come down dramatically, and it makes sense for the state because advanced energy supports over 100,000 jobs in Ohio,” said Steve Melink, CEO of Melink Corporation, a provider of commercial-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions in greater Cincinnati. “We need lawmakers to understand the importance of sustaining a commitment to advanced energy over the long term.”

Legislation now pending before the Ohio legislature in House Bill 114 would weaken the state’s ability to invest in renewable energy and efficiency technologies, while other bills like House Bill 381, Senate Bill 128, and House Bill 239 would instead subsidize aging, uneconomic coal and nuclear generating facilities. By favoring old energy options over more efficient and cost-effective technologies, the state is undermining its status as an attractive place to do business in the Midwest. (See bill links via AEE’s PowerSuite tool.)

Over the past five years, Ohio lawmakers have been pursuing changes in state law that undermine investments in advanced energy technologies. This uncertainty has created hesitation among investors that are eager to bring jobs and economic growth to Ohio.

“Our electricity market is undergoing significant transformation as the cost of advanced energy resources has declined dramatically while at the same time offering more reliable 24/7 options," said Ted Ford, President of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy. "Ohio energy policy needs to keep pace as advanced energy technologies are increasingly attractive options for companies, like these in the healthcare market, that are managing costs and demanding reliable sources.”



Ohio Wind Turbine Setback Fix Suffers a Setback

August 8, 2017
Advanced Energy Economy Blog

Three years ago, the Ohio General Assembly enacted the most restrictive wind turbine siting requirements in the nation, bringing most new wind development in the state to a standstill. Although industry leaders warned of the potential consequences, the new setback language was inserted into a budget bill – with no testimony or debate – and signed by the Governor. With nearly $4.2 billion of wind investments at stake, it’s time to roll back Ohio’s wind setback. Unfortunately, Ohio lawmakers let one opportunity to restore balance to wind siting slip away. Now, the best shot they have is a legislative vehicle full of danger for the advanced energy industry.

Continue reading on



Roundtable Focuses on Industrial Energy Efficiency as Economic Driver for Ohio

April 27, 2017
Advanced Energy Economy

Cincinnati, Ohio, April 27, 2017 — Today, Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE Institute) convened a discussion with Ohio’s leading commercial and industrial energy managers, efficiency program and service providers, city officials, and thought leaders to share their experiences implementing effective energy efficiency programs. These conversations allow stakeholders to learn from efficiency leaders and help shape Ohio's policies to enhance the state's energy productivity for competitiveness and economic growth. 

For today’s roundtable, AEE Institute brought together 12 energy efficiency experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges for industrial efficiency in Ohio. This roundtable was hosted by Melink Corp. in Milford (part of greater Cincinnati), a leader in building energy efficiency and solar energy development. Participants included companies like Siemens, Cooper Tires, and Energy Optimizers, USA, among others.

“Cincinnati ranks 30th among cities around the country for energy efficiency, yet the state of Ohio is leaving money on the table. There is an important role for efficiency to play in Ohio and addressing the opportunities and challenges with efficiency programs will help the state’s largest users reduce their costs,” said J.R. Tolbert, vice president of state policy, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business group affiliated with AEE Institute. “Collaborative, productive efforts like today’s roundtable show how Ohio can take the lead in energy innovation — and benefit from savings, growth, and economic competitiveness.”

The discussion highlighted successful projects completed by energy service companies in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio that have helped industrial customers, typically large energy users, make their facilities more efficient and competitive, significantly reducing their cost of operations.

The industrial sector is the largest user of energy, accounting for 32 percent of total electricity usage in Ohio. Various technologies and services, like demand response and combined heat and power, can make industrial energy use more efficient. While large cities in Ohio continue to make significant progress on energy efficiency, more can be done to help all consumers. Ohio is presented with various opportunities for improving efficiency programs. The group focused primarily on challenges surrounding the industrial efficiency sector, including financing projects, customer awareness, and improving access to data.

“Energy efficiency is a valuable resource that allows companies, like ours and our customers, to reduce the cost of energy per unit produced, thereby increasing our competitiveness and the competitiveness of our customers. And when you connect efficiency upgrades with improved data visualization, adaptive technologies, and controls, we are able to make more informed decisions that influence productivity,” said Don Wingate, Vice President Sales - Utility Solutions, Schneider Electric.

Energy efficiency represents a significant share of the total $200 billion U.S. advanced energy industry that is equal to pharmaceutical manufacturing revenues and approaching that of consumer electronics, and today employs more than 3.3 million people across the nation. For more information on the role and size of the energy efficiency sector in the United States, download Advanced Energy Economy’s Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report. To learn more about various energy efficiency technologies, download This Is Advanced Energy, a comprehensive technology directory with descriptions, photos, and case study examples.



AEE and Ohio AEE React to the Passage of House Bill 114, Say It Makes Ohio Less Competitive

March 30, 2017
Advanced Energy Economy

Following Gov. Kasich’s veto last year, the Ohio House passed HB114, a job-killer that would cost Ohio a $10 billion market opportunity from reinstated energy standards, business group says

Columbus, Ohio, March 30, 2017—Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy provided the following statement following the passage of HB114 from the Ohio House of Representatives, a bill that is objectively 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.

“The Ohio House’s attempt to slam a revolving door on the advanced energy industry by passing a job-killer like HB114 is discouraging. Businesses are depending on a clear signal from the legislature and unfortunately all they keep hearing is that Ohio is closed for business,” said Ray Fakhoury, State Policy Associate at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “Now it’s up to the Senate to do take a stand and do what’s right for Ohio’s consumers by rejecting HB114.”

“It’s unfortunate that Ohio continues to undermine its reputation and its economy by throwing roadblocks in front of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Ted Ford, President of the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy. “The advanced energy industry has created over 100,000 jobs and attracted billions in investment to Ohio.  Ohio can’t go forward by going backward.”



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

March 21, 2017
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."



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.

Keep up to date on Ohio policy and beyond by subscribing to AEE Weekly



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:



The Plain Dealer Covers Ohio AEE's Celebration of Veto

December 26, 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. 



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.