Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center
Columbus, OH—From a solar zoo to an ultra-efficient new high school, Ohio is booming with success stories from its Clean Energy Law passed in 2008, according to a new report from Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center, Ohio’s Clean Energy Success Story: The Clean Energy Law Three Years In. The report found that between January 2009, when the law took effect, and December 2011 Ohio’s four largest utilities implemented energy efficiency programs that have saved enough electricity to power 267,000 Ohio homes for a year, and added enough of wind solar photovoltaic capacity between 2009 and 2012 to produce enough energy to power 95,000 Ohio homes.
“It’s the 21st century, and our energy doesn’t need to pollute our air and water. The Clean Energy Law is paving the way for a future of clean energy for Ohio,” said Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio State Policy Advocate. “Across the state, we’re investing in wind, solar and energy efficiency projects that are helping to repower the state with clean energy, cutting pollution, saving money, and helping to create local jobs. And the best part is, we’ve only scratched the surface of Ohio’s untapped potential for clean energy.”
The report documented case studies of customers across the state are saving money and cutting pollution as a result of programs established by major utilities to comply with the Clean Energy Law. For example:
- Funding from American Electric Power’s (AEP’s) New Construction program helped Reynoldsburg build its new high school to strong building energy efficiency standards. With help from incentives from AEP, the new school was constructed to consume less energy than a conventional school building and will cost less to operate.
- An incentive from Duke Energy’s Smart Saver Non-Residential Program spurred the Kroger Company to upgrade the cooling equipment in its Cincinnati data center, reducing Kroger’s costs by $86,555 in the first eight months after the project came online in August 2010.
- With the installation of solar energy projects at two schools, Centerburg School District will save an estimated $50,000 annually on its electricity bill. An outside company financed and installed the solar panels, while Centerburg paid only a modest upfront legal fee.
- Blue Creek Wind Farm, a 304-MW facility in Van Wert and Paulding counties, was made possible in part by a long-term power purchase agreement with FirstEnergy. Ohio State University also agreed to purchase power from this wind farm—enough to meet 25 percent of the campus’ electricity needs annually and save Ohio State $1 million every year.
Boggs was joined by Ohio Interfaith Power & Light’s Sara Ward at the First English Lutheran Church in Columbus. The church participated in an efficiency program with Columbia Gas in 2010, and has saved 20 percent on its energy bills in the last year. Ward said the First English experience can be used as a model to take advantage of utility programs under the Clean Energy Law. “By connecting to energy efficiency programs, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light can help Houses of Worship reduce their energy use and energy costs–becoming better stewards of God’s creation” she said.
Based on Ohio’s enormous potential for clean energy and the early success of the law, the report recommended expanding the state’s commitment to renewable energy, and providing stricter oversight of utilities’ compliance toward efficiency benchmarks.
“Leading states have renewable standards that are more than twice as strong as Ohio’s, and solar standards that are 6 times as strong,” said Boggs. “Our efficiency standard could be even more effective than it is already. If any change is going to be made to our Clean Energy Law, we should to be raising the bar.”
The full report can be found online at http://www.environmentohio.org/reports/ohe/ohios-clean-energy-success-story