Ohio's Energy Mandates Study Committee has released a report recommending to indefinitely freeze the state's already stalled renewable portfolio standard (RPS), and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says the recommendation would hurt the state's economy.
The committee's recommendation comes as new data released by AWEA and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) shows Ohio households and business owners could save more than $5.3 billion on their electric bills through 2050 by increasing the use of wind energy.
‘If implemented, this committee's recommendations would damage Ohio's economy and cost Ohio families and businesses money," says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "By following this recommendation, Ohio would put into jeopardy over $5 billion in potential savings for Ohio consumers. The Buckeye State can be a renewable energy heavyweight but instead is choosing to follow anti-business policy recommendations and to leave its abundant wind energy resource largely untapped."
Last year, the Ohio General Assembly passed S.B.310, which froze the state's RPS for two years while the Ohio energy study committee drafted its recommendations. The current renewable energy policy requires that Ohio electric utilities must supply 12.5% of their electricity through renewable resources by 2027.
AWEA notes the data about the potential benefits from increased wind power in Ohio come from calculations made using the U.S. Department of Energy's 2015 Wind Vision report. The new data shows Ohio can grow to obtain 15.5% of its electricity from wind power by 2030.
Other economic benefits for the Buckeye State would include over $57 million in annual property tax revenue and over $26 million in annual lease payments to Ohio landowners by 2030, AWEA adds.
"The study clearly shows the benefits of wind that Ohio citizens are already enjoying. It also shows that wind energy can provide an even bigger economic boost in the coming decades," says John Kostyack, executive director of WEF.
According to AWEA, nearly 2,000 jobs are supported by wind power today in Ohio, including manufacturing jobs at 63 factories producing wind power parts and supplies around the state. Wind energy has already attracted $775 million in capital investment to Ohio, and rural landowners currently receive $3 million a year in land lease payments, says AWEA.
Earlier this week, AWEA and WEF released similar data showing the economic benefits Illinois would see if it continues to grow its wind energy resources. That study is available here.