Gov. Kasich’s energy proposal shortchanges Ohio’s clean energy potential

Environment Ohio

COLUMBUS – In response to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s presentation of his energy plan today, Environment Ohio State Policy Advocate Julian Boggs issued the following statement:

“Ohio has enormous, untapped potential for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency that will protect our environment and the economic sustainability of communities for generations. Policymakers should be seeking to maximize that potential. Unfortunately, Governor Kasich’s proposed energy plan as outlined, touted as a comprehensive plan to make Ohio energy independent, shortchanges Ohio’s clean energy potential. In fact, it sets us back in our progress to meet that potential.”

“However, this is still very early in the process, and the Kasich Administration and the General Assembly have ample opportunity to build upon the proposal as outlined and help move Ohio forward toward a truly clean energy future.”

On co-generation– The Governor’s outlined proposal seeks to tap the potential of waste heat from industrial processes and other combined heat and power technologies. These technologies could to provide large amounts of pollution-free power for Ohio and it is good policy to pursue them. However, the plan seeks to incentivize cogeneration at the expense of renewable energy. Cogeneration and waste heat are great technologies and represent huge potential – they are worthy of their own incentive mechanism to get off the ground. The Governor noted that his renewable ‘pillar’ keeps the current renewable standard in place.

“If the goal is to make Ohio more energy independent, we can’t do that by pitting under-utilitized resources like wind and waste heat against each other in a zero-sum game.” Said Boggs. “To be clear: pitting cogeneration against renewable energy is not keeping the programs in place.”

On renewable energy and energy efficiency – The proposal included modest improvements to Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, including and a pledge to work to make government building more efficient. However, the Governor proposes to fund energy efficiency measures by raiding the Air Quality Development Board.

“The two biggest things we can do to tap Ohio’s clean energy potential are put more investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Governor and the Assembly should work to develop and expand on this part of the plan,” said Boggs.

On coal, the Governor’s proposal is a step back with a $30 million giveaway to the coal industry to invest in carbon sequestration, a technology that has thus far been technologically and financially unfeasible.

“It is the 21st century, and we should be shifting resources away from dirty energy like coal and towards a clean energy future,” said Boggs.

On shale drilling rules, the Governor acknowledged that protecting the environment must be an essential component of the legislature’s response to the development of Ohio’s Utica and Marcellus Shale, but his proposal as presented fails to take meaningful steps to do so. The Governor’s proposal requires disclosure to regulators but stops short of requiring full disclosure of chemical constituents to the public, as other states such Texas have recently done.

“I think we should expect a good bit of disagreement around shale drilling, and we should continue to have a healthy debate, but I think that we can all agree that the entire process should be transparent and accountable to the public. If we can’t disclose everything to the public, you have to start to ask: what do drilling companies have to hide?” said Boggs.