May/June Newsletter:

PD Editorial: Green Energy, or Five Steps Back for Ohio

By Steve McPhee, Executive Committee Chair

On Earth Day of 2013 Ohio stands at a crossroads for our energy future. Since 2008 Ohio has had a law on the books to require our electric utilities to obtain a portion of their power from renewable sources. Senate Bill 221 has been the subject of much debate over the years, but has also quietly revolutionized a new industry for Ohio.

Recently I toured the new wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea. It was built by shipping the major parts of a salvaged unit all the way from Germany. Other parts came from outside of Ohio as well. It was started in 2010 with a great deal of financial help from grants and special incentives. Had it been started today, over 70% of the parts could be obtained from Ohio manufacturers. This is partly due to the demand for these turbines created by Senate Bill 221. Solar manufacturers and developers have also enjoyed similar growth in Ohio.

Today, the requirement that Ohio utilities obtain 12.5% of their power from renewable sources is under attack. Many utilities and Coal, Oil, and Gas suppliers are drafting legislation and pressuring PUCO to repeal or change SB221.

Our legislators in the Ohio house and Senate need to hear from us that we want the renewable energy requirement and energy efficiency mandates of SB221 to be preserved. We must not let the short term interests from large corporations drown out our voices. Easy profit from keeping outdated power plants which pollute our water, air, and land is not worth scuttling 5 years of progress. Ohioans know that we need to be at the front of the train of clean, renewable energy, not choking on the fumes and poisons of outdated coal and nuclear plants and looking for the jobs that left for places that value a new energy economy.

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It’s Spring; be sure to “Explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.”