The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is characterizing an Ohio budget bill as a ‘missed opportunity’ to re-open wind energy development in the state.
‘While House Bill 64 contains a positive policy development for renewable energy, overall the industry believes it is a missed opportunity for Ohio's clean energy future,’ says Andrew Gohn, AWEA's eastern state policy director.
The budget bill, H.B.64, comes a year after the passage of onerous setback requirements that have stymied new wind farms in the state.
‘Ohio's wind turbine siting regulations are choking off the potential for billions of dollars of wind energy investment. In particular, we know that Fortune 500 technology companies are actively considering locating facilities in Ohio, but they demand access to clean, reliable power. The fact is, Ohio's restrictive wind turbine siting laws make wind energy a virtual impossibility in the Buckeye State,’ says Gohn.
By opening a narrow, short-term window of 180 days for certified wind farms to utilize the state's original setback, H.B.64 clearly acknowledges that the change in June 2014 to nearly triple the required setback has made siting new wind farms in Ohio impossible, Gohn explains.
‘But, the 'solution' falls well short. It is merely a temporary band-aid, evidently designed specifically for one project. It is far too narrow to do much good,’ he says.
The wind industry renewed its call on Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and the general assembly to adopt the provisions of H.B.190 and allow municipalities that want wind energy the flexibility to choose wind energy.
H.B.64, however, contains a bright spot, AWEA notes. It extends the current tax treatment for renewable energy for another five years. That treatment was set to expire at the end of this year.
‘The industry applauds the forward progress made with the five-year extension of the state energy tax policy first adopted in 2010. This extension provides the renewable energy industry with the tax certainty necessary for companies to even consider investing in Ohio. We thank the General Assembly for taking this one step and invite them to consider what's possible for Ohio's economy with a realistic setback policy," Gohn says.