Union of Concerned Scientists

Open Statement in Defense of Ohio's Clean Energy Standards

Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards are a success. The Buckeye State is now home to more than 1,000 renewable energy projects. Energy efficiency programs have saved Ohioans $3 for every $1 invested.

But some politicians in Columbus want to halt Ohio's clean energy progress by weakening or even repealing these innovative policies. State lawmakers need to hear from experts like you to get the facts about the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of Ohio's transition to clean energy.

Join the open statement from Ohio experts who support maintaining Ohio's clean energy standards.

The Union of Concerned Scientists will share this statement with state legislators, Governor John Kasich, and the media to ensure its impact.

Eligibility criteria: This statement is open to signers who are Ohio scientists, economists, engineers, technical experts, or public health professionals who have expertise relevant to Ohio's clean energy transition. All signers must have, or be working toward, an advanced degree or equivalent experience and be affiliated with an academic institution.

Don't meet the criteria? You can still take action by sending a message of support for Ohio's clean energy policies to state lawmakers.

Learn more about how renewable energy standards are delivering economic benefits.

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If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Please Sign This Open Statement

Open Statement in Defense of Ohio's Clean Energy Standards

To: Governor John Kasich and members of the Ohio General Assembly

Maintaining Ohio's energy efficiency and renewable energy standards will build on our current success creating new clean energy jobs, and spark new investment in our growing wind and solar industries.

Continuing to ramp up renewable energy and improve energy efficiency will also reduce air pollution, improve public health, protect Lake Erie and other water resources, and help cut carbon emissions. For these reasons, as experts from across Ohio, we support the uninterrupted and ongoing implementation of Ohio's renewable and energy efficiency standards.

Utilities are making strong progress towards meeting Ohio's current 12.5 percent by 2025 renewable energy standard, and are just starting to tap our state's vast and diverse renewable energy potential (1). The Buckeye State is already home to 1,100 renewable energy projects totaling more than 700 megawatts--enough wind, solar, and biomass to power more than 100,000 homes (2, 3). Thousands of Ohioans are employed by companies operating in the wind and solar supply chains, and Ohio has quickly become a national leader in manufacturing renewable energy components. Ohio's renewable energy standard is a key driver of this economic development and will continue to drive new jobs and investments.

Ohio's energy efficiency standard is also a success. For every dollar invested in energy efficiency programs, Ohioans have saved three dollars. Energy efficiency remains our cheapest, cleanest, and most readily available resource to cost-effectively meet future energy demand.

Ohio's dependence on coal is taking a toll on our economy, natural resources, and public health. More than 75 percent of Ohio's electricity was generated from coal in 2011, and our state ranks among the three worst states for toxic pollution from coal burning power plants (4). Coal plants are also the largest source of mercury emissions in the Great Lakes region (5). Meanwhile, the economic cost of importing coal from other states is slowing our economic growth.

We now have an opportunity to transition to cleaner sources of electricity. Nearly 6,800 megawatts of old, inefficient, dirty, and uncompetitive coal generating capacity is scheduled for retirement in Ohio (6). We must embrace this as an opportunity to further diversify our energy sources in a way that reduces pollution and keeps energy dollars local by continuing to invest in Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency resources.

We encourage Ohio lawmakers to maintain our state's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and to continue moving Ohio forward in its transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

(The signers of this statement are Ohio scientists, engineers, economists, technical experts, and public health professionals who have expertise in clean energy. All signers have, or are working towards, advanced degrees in their respective fields.)

Footnotes:

1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 2010. Estimates of windy land area and wind energy potential, by state, for areas >+ 30% capacity factor at 80m. Golden, CO. Online at www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp.

2. Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. 2013. Ohio Renewable Energy Resource Generating Facility Certification: List of approved cases. Online at http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/industry-information/industry-topics/ohioe28099s-renewable-and-advanced-energy-portfolio-standard/. Accessed April 11, 2013.

3. Solar Energy Industries Association, Ohio Fact Sheet http://www.seia.org/state-solar-policy/ohio.

4. Natural Resources Defense Council. 2012. Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania have worst toxic air pollution from power plants. Online at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2012/120809.asp Accessed April 10, 2013.

5. Evers, D.C., Wiener, J.G., Driscoll, C.T., Gay, D.A., Basu, N., Monson, B.A., Lambert, K.F., Morrison, H.A., Morgan, J.T., Williams, K.A., Soehl, A.G. 2011. Great Lakes Mercury Connections: The Extent and Effects of Mercury Pollution in the Great Lakes Region. Biodiversity Research Institute. Gorham, Maine. Report BRI 2011-18.
44 pages. Online at: http://www.briloon.org/uploads/centers/hgcenter/hiddenrisk/BRI_2011-09_Osborne.etal.2011.pdf.

6. Union of Concerned Scientists. (2012). Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America's Costliest Coal Plants. Online at: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/smart-energy-solutions/decrease-coal/ripe-for-retirement-closing-americas-costliest-coal-plants.html.

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