Fact Checking ALEC’s Attacks on Ohio’s Renewable Energy Standards

Union of Concerned Scientists 

By Jeff Deyette

The Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee is deliberation changes to a state’s successful renewable appetite and appetite potency policies.

Members of a Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee listened testimony this week on dual bills that would hurl behind Ohio’s renewable energy and appetite potency standards. Backed by fossil-fuel saved special seductiveness groups and their domestic allies, these proposals would criticise Ohio’s emerging purify appetite industries and make a state even some-more contingent on coal and healthy gas.

It is no fluke that a primary sponsors of these bills are both members of a American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Last year, the Washington Post,Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and others unprotected ALEC’s intrigue to muster indication legislation created by a Heartland Institute, and backed by deeply flawed and soundly refuted analyses from a Beacon Hill Institute during Suffolk University, that would repeal renewable electricity standards (RES) now in place in 29 states.

ALEC, a Heartland Institute, and a Beacon Hill Institute all come to a list with dubious records of swelling disinformation to boar doubt about a systematic justification on climate change and a consequences of tobacco use. Each has perceived appropriation from hoary fuel and tobacco interests.

So far, their debate to hurl behind RES policies conflicting a country has failed. Policymakers in states like Kansas and North Carolina exhibited sound visualisation in rejecting a disinformation and dissolution attempts. Likewise, Ohioans should be doubtful of claims about a Buckeye State’s purify appetite policies entrance from these groups, and a politicians who repeat them.

Senate Bill 34: Repeal Ohio’s Renewable Electricity Standard?

Leading off during a latest Senate Public Utilities Committee conference was Senate Bill 34. Introduced by Sen. Jordan (R–Ostrander), this check would dissolution Ohio’s requirement that 12.5 percent of a state’s appetite supply come from renewable appetite by 2025. It is a withdraw chronicle of the RES dissolution bill Sen. Jordan initial introduced in 2011, that was hailed by ALEC, though eventually tabled by a Committee.

In his rhetoric conflicting a RES, Sen. Jordan routinely cites a Beacon Hill Institute mercantile research that ALEC distributed to Ohio lawmakers. But a Beacon Hill Institute’s Ohio RES investigate is deeply injured in many ways, including that it exaggerates a costs of renewable appetite technologies and ignores a advantages of breeze and solar power. The investigate even creates a dubious explain that non-static breeze appetite “could indeed boost wickedness and hothouse gas emissions.”

The conflicting finish was reached in a recent analysis by an economist during a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), a group obliged for overseeing a RES. That investigate found Ohioans are already benefiting from renewable energy through downward vigour on indiscriminate electricity prices and reduced emissions. PUCO’s displaying also showed that a some-more visit ramping adult and down of fossil-fuel plants to accommodate renewable appetite resources did not materially impact altogether emissions reductions.

Unfortunately, the Beacon Hill Institute deliberately ignores genuine universe evidence about a innovations and collection that make it more fit and cost-effective to ramp adult renewable energy, while progressing a arguable and cleaner appetite system. Instead, they effectively cut and pulp a same fake explain in investigate after study, swelling misinformation about a environmental advantages of renewable energy.

It is revelation that a Beacon Hill Institute drift a explain in a controversial commentary of a singular Colorado-specific news from 2010, also saved by hoary fuel interests. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest application with endless knowledge generating and integrating breeze power, promptly debunked a study’s findings. And some-more recently, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study on Colorado and other Western states found that any boost in fossil-fuel appetite plant emissions to accommodate renewable appetite is small, and some-more than equivalent by altogether reductions in CO emissions and other atmosphere pollutants.


Senate Bill 58: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothes

The second check deliberate during a conference was SB 58, introduced by cabinet authority Sen. Seitz (R–Cincinnati), a current member of ALEC’s house of directors. In recent testimony, Senator Seitz settled that what he unequivocally wants is to dissolution Ohio’s renewable appetite and appetite potency standards. Having failed once already to grasp this goal, his new tactic with SB 58 is a some-more pointed approach, but would still effectively tummy both standards.

In explaining his change of position—Sen. Seitz voted for a strange purify appetite standards in 2008, along with scarcely each member of a Ohio House and Senate—and stream rollback attempt, Senator Seitz argues that “[i]n 2008, we projected that there would be a solid boost in electricity demand. That has not happened.”

That’s true, though regulating electricity some-more good has always been a executive idea of a Ohio’s purify appetite law, that requires utilities to grasp accumulative appetite assets of 22 percent by a finish of 2025. In fact, Ohio’s 4 regulated utilities achieved scarcely 3.1 million MWh of assets by appetite potency from 2009 to 2011, as PUCO Chairman Todd Snitchler told Sen. Seitz’s cabinet in March. The fact that a appetite potency customary is operative effectively seems like a forged reason to be conflicting it.

Sen. Seitz deserves credit for accurately acknowledging that a costs for breeze and solar appetite have declined in new years. But he also contends that breeze and solar “fuels sojourn distant some-more costly” than “fuel generated from required sources, and uncompetitive with healthy gas.” In reality, clever justification shows that wind and solar can protect consumers conflicting hoary fuel cost volatility. Once built, a “fuel” to appetite breeze turbines and solar panels is free; since healthy gas and spark prices are theme to thespian swings. In fact, spark and healthy gas prices projected to boost by 59 and 119 percent, respectively, in a indiscriminate electricity marketplace portion Ohio.


Putting all of Ohio’s appetite eggs in a hoary fuel basket ignores the myriad risks of dependence on spark and healthy gas, including risks to public health and meridian change. Sen. Seitz recently invited meridian deniers from a Heartland Institute to attest on Ohio’s purify appetite standards, who used a event to falsely characterized healthy gas as “essentially an emissions free-power source.” As with any hoary fuel, burning healthy gas for electricity results in a recover of CO dioxide, and so contributes to tellurian warming, creation it a distant reduction appealing from a meridian solutions standpoint than renewable appetite or appetite efficiency.

Time to Move Forward With Ohio’s Clean Energy Future

Periodic examination of any process creates good sense. But such reviews need to be formed on sound and pure research from convincing sources, not ideological attacks and disinformation from special seductiveness groups saved by a really attention that stands to advantage from dismantling a policy.

A severe examination of Ohio’s renewable appetite and appetite potency standards would find that these policies have been effective, affordable and are delivering advantages to consumers and a environment. They should be strengthened—not repealed or diluted.

recent survey shows that a infancy of Ohioans supports requiring utilities to yield 20 percent their electricity from renewable appetite (well above a stream 12.5 percent requirement). That would be a good step forward. First, let’s make certain Ohio does not turn a initial state to select a hoary fuel industry’s novella over purify appetite facts.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for some-more associated news on this topic.