- After Ohio's passage of SB 310, which froze the state's alternative energy portfolio standard for two years at 2.5% renewables and 0.12% solar, installations of solar have dropped from 1 megawatt per month to less than 100 kilowatts per month. Meanwhile, the price of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), purchased by utilities to fulfill their solar obligation, fell from $60-$70 to $20-$30.
- Because SB 310 does not block scheduled changes in the state’s renewables mandate, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) will soon decide whether to eliminate the in-state requirement for solar and other renewables and how to more broadly define energy efficiency.
- Advocates for SB 310, including some of Ohio’s major utilities, argued renewables and efficiency increase electricity charges. The state’s Energy Study Mandates Committee will consider this claim along with how much renewables’ economic benefits offset its costs, especially as a draft PUCO report for 2012 showed the average costs for Ohio renewables were higher than out of state prices.
Renewables advocates say it is now almost impossible to finance renewable energy projects in Ohio because of the challenges resulting from SB310 and increasing opportunities in neighboring states.
In a pushback against the higher cost criticism, renewables advocates note that FirstEnergy, American Electric Power and other Ohio utilities want the PUCO to approve plans that would charge all distribution customers for electricity from older coal plants. This, they argue, is essentially a bailout to power providers whose plants' power will be too costly to compete in electricity markets after pollution control expenditures.
Renewables advocates also say the proposed EPA emissions reduction regulations will make the electricity from those plants untenably expensive and are calling on municipalities and electric utility customers to demand renewables.