Ohio HB 114 would slam brakes on wind power jobs, investment

The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee today held a hearing on House Bill 114, which would reduce the state’s renewable energy standard (RPS) into an unenforceable goal.

“By rapidly advancing this bill, the Ohio House is needlessly jeopardizing jobs, private investment and rural development potential that wind energy has demonstrated in Ohio and across the nation,” said Andrew Gohn, Director, Eastern State Policy, for the American Wind Energy Association. “Ohio is the beating heart of wind power manufacturing, with 62 active factories, more than any other state. Keeping the RPS in place will keep these businesses healthy and Ohio competitive with other states that are choosing to expand their own RPS policies.”

Wind power has already generated nearly 3,000 jobs and $900 million in wind project investment in Ohio, numbers that will grow as the RPS remains in place. Neighboring states have seen even larger investment figures. Michigan, which recently chose to expand its RPS, has attracted $3 billion in private investment in wind energy projects. Other neighbors, Indiana and Pennsylvania, have seen $4 billion and $2.7 billion in private investment respectively.

Ohio’s RPS requires utilities in the state to source 12.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2027. In December of 2016, Governor Kasich vetoed an extension of a freeze, placed on the RPS in 2014, on the grounds that weakening the standard would hurt the state’s economic competitiveness.

“House Bill 114 as proposed would take Ohio even farther in the wrong direction than the earlier bill vetoed by Gov. Kasich,” said Gohn. “By rushing this bill forward with only a single hearing, the Ohio House is turning its back on the local communities, schools and businesses who benefit from the positive economic growth of wind energy.”

“The public deserves representatives who apply careful consideration on economic and energy issues,” added Gohn. “We look forward to working with the Ohio Senate to arrive at stable long-term energy policy through a more deliberative process.”

States across the country, including Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island and New York, and the District of Columbia, have recently expanded their RPS polices. Others, including California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nevada are considering new increases to their successful RPS policies.

Nationally, wind power recently became the largest source of renewable energy capacity and supports over 100,000 American jobs, including 25,000 manufacturing jobs at more than 500 factories in 43 states.