Ohio House of Representatives limits inclusion of universities’ coal, oil and gas generation as “renewable” resources

May 24, 2012

 

Columbus, OH, Thursday, May 24, 2012 -- Four years ago, Ohio enacted a renewable energy policy that made it the fastest growing state in the country for wind energy development. Today, a provision in Senate Bill 315 would have allowed any state university that uses “combined heat and power” technology fueled by non-renewable fossil fuel resources such as coal, gas and even oil to count as renewable. The University of Cincinnati and Kent State University built such fossil-fuel fired cogeneration units in the early 2000’s, and actively lobbied to qualify them as a renewable energy sources. The provision in SB 315 would thwart future development of actual renewable energy and set a the dangerous precedent of labeling fossil fuel generation “renewable.”

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives adopted an amendment on the House floor sponsored by Representative Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) to severely limit the provision’s application. While still applicable to the University of Cincinnati and Kent State projects, the amendment prohibits any future similar fossil fuel projects from qualifying as “renewable” energy.

“A diverse group of stakeholders worked together to insure that fossil fuels would not become eligible to meet renewable energy requirements and there was broad consensus that this was important in order to encourage new and ongoing investment in true renewable energy sources in Ohio,” said Dayna Baird, a representative for the American Wind Energy Association. “Unfortunately, a loophole was added for universities in which old fossil fuel technology on university campusescould count as renewable, doing nothing to spur new investment or create jobs. While the provision remains objectionable, the wind industry appreciates Representative Williams and the Ohio House of Representatives for the effort to mitigate the untold damage that would have resulted from universal application of this provision.”

Since Ohio enacted its energy policy four years ago, a dozen wind energy companies have invested heavily in Ohio and two companies: EDP Renewables and Iberdrola Renewables have built new wind farms in Northwest Ohio within the last year. These companies have invested a combined $775 million in Paulding and Van Wert counties and make the list of the top ten investments made in Ohio in 2011.

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