- The Vice-Chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) told a special joint committee of the Ohio General Assembly that state utility regulators do not want legislators to pass any law blocking Ohio’s compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan.
- The PUCO and Ohio’s EPA, Governor, and Attorney General agree on the state’s legal challenge to the CPP. But they also know that laws limiting the state’s ability to shift to emissions-free energy, like an extension of last year’s freeze on the state mandates, could make compliance more costly if the legal challenge fails.
- The General Assembly’s Energy Mandates Study Committee, established to weigh the costs and benefits of the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates, will recommend legislation to ease the renewables and efficiency mandates by September 30.
The CPP aims to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Each state will have a different level of required cuts. Ohio will have to cut its emissions 27.7% by 2030 because its power plant emissions are the fourth highest in the country.
The CPP offers states four pathways to emissions reductions, called Building Blocks: (1) efficiency improvements at combined cycle coal plants, (2) re-dispatch away from coal-burning generation to combined cycle natural gas generation, (3) increased renewables and nuclear, and/or (4) increased demand-side efficiency.
The PUCO Vice-Chair said calculations made with the state EPA and based on analyses by regional grid operator PJM found a compliance plan would increase Ohio wholesale energy prices 39%.
Another PJM Interconnection analysis shows individual states can reduce compliance costs by almost 30% through regional collaboration and a price on carbon. With collaboration, the cost to PJM states would be an estimated $35 billion in 2020 whereas a state-by-state approach would cost close to $45 billion.