Ohio’s Energy Mandates Study Committee released a report today recommending to indefinitely freeze the state’s renewable energy policy, a state law that would otherwise allow Ohio to harvest economy-wide benefits from its reliable wind energy resource.
The committee’s recommendation comes as new data released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) show Ohio households and business owners could save more than $5.3 billion on their electric bills through 2050. The savings are made possible by increasing the use of low risk, stably priced wind energy that protects against fossil fuel price increases.
“If implemented, this committee’s recommendations would damage Ohio’s economy and cost Ohio families and businesses money,” said 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 Senate Bill 310, which froze the state’s renewable electricity standard 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 percent of their electricity through renewable resources by 2027.
The potential consumer and economic benefits from increased wind power come from calculations made using the U.S. Department of Energy’s new 2015 report Wind Vision: A new era for wind power in the United States. The new data show Ohio can grow to obtain 15.5 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030, or enough energy to power 2.4 million average American homes.
Other added 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.
“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,” said John Kostyack, Executive Director of WEF.
Nearly 2,000 jobs are supported by wind power today in Ohio, including well-paying 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. Rural landowners currently receive $3 million a year in land lease payments, according to data provided by wind developers in the state.
Over 380,000 well-paying jobs across the country can be created by wind meeting the 2030 scenario, up from 73,000 full-time jobs today. That includes supporting 142,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030, up from around the nearly 20,000 wind manufacturing jobs today.
According to Wind Vision, wind energy can more than double from supplying the U.S. with over four percent of the country’s electricity today to 10 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and become a leading source of electricity in the U.S. by 2050 at 35 percent.
For a library of up-to-date library images of wind energy use this link http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/content.aspx?ItemNumber=7244