- A bill to eliminate renewable energy mandates in Ohio has passed a House committee on a 14-9 vote, according the Associated Press. Lawmakers also added five amendments.
- The measure is similar to a bill Gov. John Kasich (R) vetoed last year that would have extended a freeze on the state's renewables goals—essentially the same thing Republicans in legislature are trying to do now.
- Among changes to the bill, lawmakers added a provision to limit the amount ratepayers will pay for energy efficiency profits that accrue to the utility.
It is not clear just how much of a chance this bill has—Kasich vetoed a similar measure just months ago, but Republicans in the Ohio House appear determined to press forward. The current measure would allow all customers to opt out of the state's renewable goals, including a small charge on monthly residential bills.
Some Republicans pressing for the measure believe that can push it through, arguing some in their party voted against freezing the standards in last year's debate because the 2016 attempt did not go far enough.
Limits to how much customers will be forced to pay for efficiency brought praise from the Ohio Consumers' Counsel. A spokesperson told AP that "we encourage Ohioans to be energy efficient, but are concerned with the charges for the utilities' energy efficiency programs."
Three years ago, lawmakers halted renewable standards at 2.5% until 2017. Prior to that, utilities in the state needed to source 25% of their power mix from alternative energy sources by 2027, including nuclear power, with half of that amount from renewable energy. Last year, however, lawmakers drafted a bill to that would have kept those standards voluntary until 2019, essentially extending the freeze, but Kasich vetoed it.
Republican leaders argued that keeping the standards, which called for 12.5% renewable energy, as voluntary goals would give the state time to adjust to energy policy changes. But clean energy advocates said stifling any progress on energy conservation and renewable energy could send jobs across state lines.