- Ohio's clean energy leadership and industry are in danger following a decision by lawmakers last year to freeze renewable standards in the state through 2016.
- According to new research by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Ohio attracted $1.3 billion in private clean energy investment from 2009 to 2013 and has been predicted to generate an additional $3.3 billion over the next decade.
- But according to the report, installations and revenue in some sectors, particularly wind, are expected to stall because of the frozen renewable standards, impacting projects and contracts already underway and creating uncertainty for investors and businesses.
In June, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a Republican-sponsored and utility-backed measure freezing the state’s mandates for renewables and efficiency until 2017. New research shows that decision could threaten the state's position as a clean energy leader following years of work to expand industry.
"Ohio’s experience demonstrates the importance of long-term policy to foster growth in the clean energy industry,” said Tom Swanson, manager for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ clean energy initiative. “The state’s alternative energy portfolio standard, along with the federal production tax credit, boosted Ohio’s strong manufacturing base, which at one point supported 62 facilities producing wind energy components — more than any other state."
"But now, many manufacturers are directing their investments elsewhere because policy uncertainty is tightening the local market for their products," Swanson said.
Before the 2014 changes to the standards, Ohio was becoming a major destination for wind energy projects. According to Navigant Research, wind power installations in the state totaled 420 MW and attracted $755 million from 2009 to 2013.
Pew's report noted the freeze of the alternative energy portfolio standard, coupled with another law that requires wind projects to maintain wider setbacks from property lines, has led some industry experts to warn that this could be the end of new wind development in the state. Ohio has sufficient wind resources to support 55 GW, and Pew said this "could be more fully developed if the policy landscape became more stable."
In 2013 Ohio had 692 MW clean energy capacity, some 62% from wind power and 15% each from hydro and solar.