Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  April 6, 2017

Visiting Amazon, Kasich blasts Ohio House vote to change renewable energy, efficiency standards

The increasingly powerful impact that large commercial and industrial companies are beginning to have on energy policy, at least at the state level, was made evident April 3 in Ohio.

Speaking at an event celebrating the newly opened Amazon fulfillment center in the state, Gov. John Kasich reportedly took an opportunity to lambast the recent Ohio House vote approving a bill that aims to remove the state's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. The bill, H.B. 114, passed March 30 in the House and moves to the Senate.

The Statehouse News Bureau reported that just prior to the governor's tour of the facility, Amazon's Paul Misener talked about the online retail giant's goal of getting 100% of its energy for its Ohio cloud computing operation from renewable sources. Kasich, whose administration had a hand in Amazon’s decision to locate the facility just outside Columbus, apparently addressed his comment to Ohio Sen. Jay Hottinger, who was in attendance.

"Now it doesn't make a lot of sense for the legislature to take us back, Senator, on the issue of renewables," Kasich said.

Another local news outlet reported that Kasich has previously cited Amazon's growing presence in Ohio, including cloud computing facilities and a wind farm, as signs of the state's improving business climate.

Amazon has aggressive sustainability goals that include a 100% renewable energy target for its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services. The company has announced or commenced construction of a total of 3.6 million MWh of renewable energy, according to its website, and was ranked as the leading corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States in 2016. 

H.B. 114 was backed by a faction of the Ohio Legislature that supported a similar bill in late 2016 that would have made the standards, which had been frozen since 2014, optional. Kasich vetoed that previous bill Dec. 27, 2016. H.B. 114 aims to do the same thing in addition to removing the standards completely in 2026.

A large group of businesses and investors, including Burton Snowboards, Clif Bar & Co., IKEA North America Services LLC, JLL, Nestlé and Trillium Asset Management have also expressed their opposition to the bill, saying it would create prolonged uncertainty for the business and investor community in the state.

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