Renewable energy freeze means fewer energy options

Buckeye Farm News

Farmers, businesses and consumers may have fewer energy options if the legislature chooses to halt a law that promotes renewable and advanced energy development in Ohio.

Farm Bureau strongly disagrees with the recommendation, which came from the Energy Mandates Study Committee of the General Assembly.

The committee’s report calls for an indefinite freeze on Ohio’s Advanced Energy Initiative. The initiative, which became law in 2008, promotes the generation and use of renewables such as wind, solar and biomass as well as advanced forms of coal and nuclear. It stipulates that one half of the generation assets be located in Ohio. In 2014 the General Assembly enacted a two-year freeze on the law. In late September its study committee recommended the freeze become indefinite.

In a media statement following the report, Ohio Farm Bureau said its policy “calls for the state to have a diversified energy portfolio that provides consumers with a variety of energy sources. We also believe consumers should have access to energy efficiency programs. This report fails to achieve these goals.”

Renewable energy has the potential to create jobs and boost the Ohio economy, said Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau director of energy policy. He cited online retailer Amazon’s plan to invest a reported $1 billion into data and fulfillment facilities in Ohio. Amazon favors renewable energy and plans to source electricity from its wind farm in Indiana.

“Shouldn’t we encourage renewable energy generation right here in Ohio?” Arnold said.

It is not clear how the legislature will act on the recommendation. Farm Bureau is encouraging lawmakers to remain open to discussion.