SOUND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES CAN PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH:
OHIO’S OPPORTUNITIES AND BAD DECISIONS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
Improving the environment can promote economic and job growth. Indeed, bipartisan
environmental legislation adopted 12 years ago helped make Ohio the leading producer of
products relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency, employing over 100,000 people.
Today, Ohio’s competitive position in that industry is in doubt due to the enactment of House
Bill 6 (HB 6) as the result of an alleged $61 million bribery scheme. HB 6 is not only an
environmental disaster but is likely to impede one of the fastest growing industries in the state.
In late 2017, the cost of electricity from a new wind or solar farm became lower than the cost of
existing fossil and nuclear power – for about 90% of the world’s power generation. This
incredible shift in economics ought to be a wave which Ohio rides. The United States needs
about 130,000 to 150,000 MW’s of new wind and solar generation every year for 20 years, and if
Ohio is not building a large share of that equipment and providing services and workers to do so,
other states and nations will eagerly fill in the gaps.
Ohio became a leader in the manufacture of renewable energy products due, in large part, to Ohio’s
bipartisan adoption of legislation in 2008 that set renewable energy and energy efficiency
standards for electric utilities in the state to meet in the years ahead. The legislation and the
state’s policies promoting renewable energy and energy conservation encouraged the growth of
manufacturing businesses in Ohio addressing these emerging markets. These policies also
encouraged investment in wind farms and solar farms in several rural Ohio counties, providing
much needed jobs and tax revenue. By 2019, when HB 6 was passed, many other states had
established renewable energy standards and energy efficiency standards.
With the passage of HB 6, Ohio went from being a leader in renewable energy and energy
conservation to being a laggard. HB 6 not only required utility customers to subsidize two
inefficient nuclear plants and two hyper-polluting coal-burning plants (one in Indiana), it also
gutted Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. If Ohio is to remain
competitive, both in manufacturing products for renewable energy and in generating lower cost
electricity, we need a legislature which respects common sense, economics and the tide of
change sweeping the world’s electricity market.
It is now cheaper to solve climate change than it is not to. It is also urgent that we end fossil fuel
soot, smog and pollution which kills and sickens far too many people in Ohio and globally.
Ohio isn’t alone in desperately needing new jobs and new economic investment, so we shouldn’t
take a pass on the solid start we have in producing products for renewable energy generation and
New utility-scale wind and solar farms, strong efficiency programs, and all the economic growth
which those can bring are coming somewhere soon. The U.S. government expects wind
construction to double in 2020 over previous years, and solar construction to increase 50%. This
is the sort of future which the world is headed towards, and Erin Rosiello will support and
promote the best interests of all Ohioans as she helps Ohio lawmakers forge a new direction.