February 10, 2012

Ohio: Jordan wants to scrap energy benchmarks

State Sen. Kris Jordan, R- Powell, testified last week on a proposal to eliminate benchmarks designed to encourage the use of alternative energy in Ohio.

His proposed legislation would repeal Ohio's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires 25 percent of the state's energy to come from advanced and renewable resources by 2025.
"It is my strong conviction that the choice of energy supply should come from the demands of the free market, and not from policy makers and environmental lobbyists," Jordan said.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 216, had its first hearing Wednesday before the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

Jordan, who represents Richland County as part of the 19th Senate District, said the state's alternative energy benchmarks should be "revisited to ensure competitive energy pricing for our constituents."

The benchmarks were approved with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008. They require at least 12.5 percent of electricity sold in Ohio to be from renewable energy resources -- including wind, hydro and biomass -- and at least 0.5 percent to be from solar by 2025. The remainder can be generated from advanced energy resources, including nuclear, clean coal and certain types of fuel cells. In addition, at least one half of the renewable energy used must be generated at facilities in Ohio.

Utility companies are able to purchase qualifying renewable energy credits to help meet the requirement. They face penalties for not complying with alternative energy benchmarks that ramp up each year until 2025.

The company behind a proposed north central Ohio wind farm is seeking a utility company to buy its electricity. The state board that certifies construction plans for energy facilities approved an agreement Jan. 23 that authorized the 91-turbine wind farm along the Crawford and Richland county line.

The state has certified nine wind farms across Ohio, totaling 662 turbines and 1,251 megawatts of generating capacity.

Wind farm construction is expected to start in north central Ohio in 2013 or 2014, the project manager said.


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