At a time when Ohio's renewable energy standard is coming under attack, voters overwhelmingly support maintaining the state's current energy-related laws, according to a new poll released by Ohio Advanced Energy Economy (Ohio AEE).
The survey, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, recently questioned 600 Ohio voters. It found that nearly 75% of respondents support the state's RPS, and 86% register their support for the current energy efficiency law.
Under the RPS, Ohio utility companies are required to gradually increase their use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to 12.5% by 2024. However, Ohio AEE says recently proposed legislation aims to freeze those requirements at 2014 levels and would require future legislative action to reinstate the law. Current law also requires utility companies to provide programs through which customers can make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and businesses.
"Ohio is home to some 400 advanced energy companies employing 25,000 Ohioans," says Ted Ford, president and CEO of Ohio AEE. "Simply put, Ohio's clean energy law is working. It's saving money for consumers, creating jobs and making Ohio competitive. And now, we can demonstrate that the voting public strongly supports it, too."
Other key findings in the poll include the following:
– 72% of Ohio voters say that Ohio should continue to replace traditional sources of energy like coal with other energy sources like wind and solar power.
– 66% of voters prefer a legislative candidate who wants to promote greater use of
renewable energy, rather than continuing to rely on traditional energy sources like coal.
– Voters rate job creation, reducing pollution, and encouraging the development of new technologies and innovations as more important priorities in a state energy policy than reining in increases in energy costs.
According to Ohio AEE, the anti-RPS bill, SB 310, has been heard in a state Senate committee and is expected to move to the Senate floor when legislators return from a break. The group says it is working to educate officials about the negative impacts the bill could have on the state's clean energy industry and ratepayers.