News
6:59 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Energy Standards Freeze

There's a new twist to one of the most controversial debates among lawmakers.

Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow takes a closer look at the latest attempt to change Ohio's energy standards.

The Senate Republicans released their new energy plan which calls for an all-out freeze on energy efficiency and renewable standards, instead of an earlier piece of legislation that would have made changes to existing policies.

The new bill halts the benchmarks which were slated to exceed more than 20% by 2025,according to a law passed in 2008.

Operation Free is a group of veterans and national security experts that advocate for clean energy policies. Zach Roberts, the group's Ohio organizer, says this bill would weaken the state's energy security continues a reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Roberts: "We don't really see this bill as a freeze -- we actually see this as a full repeal. The language that we've read really fails to show how the freeze is lifted and the path forward is paved." The bill does create a commission that must study these standards, conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and recommend new, evidence-based benchmarks. John McClelland is the spokesperson for the Senate Republicans. He says it's in the best interest of Ohio's ratepayers to press pause on these standards. McClelland: "Consumers have spent more than a billion dollars on energy efficiency programs over the past five years -- we know it's costing consumers money what we don't know is whether there's any real economic or environmental benefit so we need to find out what is based on science, fact -- not what is a political talking point or just somebody's idea." The bill does not specify a time for benchmarks to be reinstated, McClelland says that will be up to the Legislature.