With Kasich veto, Ohio clean energy standards set to unfreeze - Smart Energy Decisions

Utilities, Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 30, 2016

With veto, Ohio clean energy standards to unfreeze

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Dec. 27 vetoed a bill that would have weakened the state's renewable energy standards for power companies. 

In vetoing the bill, Kasich, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, went against a Republican-controlled Ohio House and Senate. The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch described the move as a slight as the state's new General Assembly begins its work. 

Ohio's clean energy and energy efficiency standards were placed on hold in 2014; prior to that hold, they had been in place since 2008. State lawmakers this year were tasked with the decision of whether to end the hold as planned at the end of 2016 or come up with another plan.

The bill Kasich vetoedHB 554, would have made the standards optional for two years. Instead, Ohio's renewable portfolio standard of 12.5% by 2026 goes back into effect Jan. 1, 2017.  Utilities are also required to implement energy efficiency and peak demand reduction programs that will result in 0.75% reduction in peak demand each year, leading to a cumulative electricity savings of 22% by the end of 2025.

While supporters of the bill within the House and Senate criticized Kasich, some of the state's largest employers, including seven large corporations, applauded the governor's veto. Large energy users including The Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Gap Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., Nestlé S.A., Owens Corning  and Whirlpool Corp. had called on state lawmakers in recent months to reinstate or strengthen the clean energy and energy efficiency standards. 

Seven of those businesses jointly issued a statement thanking the governor for his veto, saying it "sent a clear market signal that clean energy jobs, investment and innovation are welcome in Ohio."

The bill had passed the House and Senate this month, but the majorities were not large enough to override a veto, according to The Columbus Dispatch. 

"Policies that encourage clean energy investment are on the rise in many U.S. states because they make strong business sense," Mindy Lubber, president of the nonprofit group Ceres, which helps organize businesses to speak out publicly in support of the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, said in a statement. "By allowing Ohio's clean energy standards to come back online, Gov. Kasich joins other Midwest states — including Michigan and Illinois — that recently passed laws strengthening renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, which will stimulate private investment, economic growth and new jobs."

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