Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables  -  October 26, 2016

Ohio businesses push Legislature on clean energy

Nine major corporations have joined together to urge lawmakers in Ohio to reinstate energy efficiency and renewable energy standards that were frozen in 2014. 

The commercial and industrial corporate energy users, which collectively employ more than 25,000 employees in Ohio, comprise The Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Gap Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., or JLL, Nestlé S.A., Owens Corning, Schneider Electric, United Technologies; and Whirlpool Corp., according to an Oct. 25 news release from the coalition organized by Ceres. 

The group is calling on the state Legislature to reinstate Ohio's clean energy standards as they debate a series of proposals in the final weeks that the General Assembly is in session this year. Before Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards were placed on hold in 2014, they had been in place since 2009 and, the coalition argues, had been working, producing cost savings for the state's businesses. 

Each of the businesses in the coalition released their own statements about the standards, which Ceres has compiled on its website. Campbell, whose six facilities in Ohio comprise an office building, manufacturing plant, food processing plant and three retail stores, said ending the freeze would help remove barriers and promote incentives for low-carbon energy options. 

"Continuing to undo smart clean energy policies won't help us build a stronger Ohio for tomorrow," Campbell's Dave Stangis, vice president, corporate social responsibility, said. "We believe renewable energy and energy efficiency are good for the environment and good for business."

As evidence, Campbell, which just this year joined the U.S. DOE's Better Plants program, said that it's solar project at its Napoleon, Ohio, food processing plant is expected to save the company $4 million and eliminate 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the 20-year period of its purchase agreement. 

Ceres said during the freeze on the energy standards: utility companies reduced services to customers, in some cases, suspending energy efficiency programs; clean energy jobs moved out of state; and Ohio’s wind industry lost more than 1,400 jobs last year, according to the report by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs.

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