Ohio Businesses Call on Senate to Protect Renewable and Energy Efficiency Standards
January 16, 2018 /3BL Media/ - The Ohio Senate is moving quickly to act on legislation that would undercut Ohio’s clean energy economy. In response, major businesses, investors, healthcare providers and trade associations representing nearly 200,000 employees are gathering to voice their firm opposition to legislation that would roll back the state’s clean energy standards.
With the Senate likely to vote on the legislation this month, the Ohio business community says House Bill 114 would dismantle Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and create prolonged uncertainty for companies, investors and employers operating in the state.
HB 114 would reduce the state’s energy efficiency resource standard and significantly weaken its effectiveness by expanding what counts as efficiency improvements. The bill would also allow customers to opt-out of the renewable energy standard, and allow utilities to scale back their energy efficiency programs, depriving not only their customers but all Ohioans of valuable cost savings.
In a letter to Senate leadership, Gap Inc., IKEA North America Services LLC, JLL, Nestlé, Trillium Asset Management and others stressed the value of clean energy standards for the business community. As more businesses set their own clean energy commitments, Ohio’s renewable energy portfolio standard is key to attracting investments and bringing jobs to the state. The letter states:
“Clean energy standards help businesses cut energy costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices, and help us stay competitive. They also help us plan ahead and make sound investment decisions into the future. House Bill 114 will further slow investment and growth in the state by removing the requirements for utilities to invest in some of the most competitive and least-cost energy resources — clean energy.”
For Ohio’s health care providers, clean energy is essential to providing reliability, reducing operating costs and creating better patient outcomes. Ohio health care providers and businesses such as Cleveland Clinic, Mercy Health, Mount Carmel Health and TriHealth support clean energy investments as a way to improve grid reliability and diversify Ohio’s energy portfolio — which ensures their ability to provide the best care possible.
“Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency has a direct impact on air quality and the health of Ohio residents. Ohio hospitals are making these investments because the benefits far outweigh the costs,” said Sarah Spengeman, Associate Director for Communications and Advocacy, Climate and Health at Health Care Without Harm. “Hospital CEOs and health care institutions also recognize that strong clean energy standards are needed and are eager to partner with policymakers in moving to a clean energy economy.”
A group of Ohio manufacturers and trade associations also oppose provisions that would undermine the state’s energy efficiency standards and programs. The group includes Ameresco, the Dow Chemical Company, Schneider Electric, and Whirlpool Corporation, among others.
In a letter presented to members of the Senate committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the companies wrote, “the positive economic impacts of energy efficiency programs stretch well beyond the manufacturers and end users of our products. Investments in energy efficiency products support local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”
Three years ago, Ohio became the first state to freeze its energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. The freeze was lifted in December 2016 when Governor Kasich vetoed a similar bill, HB 554, citing business support for clean energy standards. While the original standards were in place, investments in Ohio’s clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated over $160 million in annual GDP growth.
“These rollbacks will create additional uncertainty for investors and companies looking to invest in Ohio,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager of state policy at Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization that works with investors and companies with operations and facilities in Ohio. “Given the business community’s strong support for clean energy, Ohio lawmakers should look to encourage, not discourage, investment in this growing sector of the economy.”
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
About Health Care Without Harm
Health Care Without Harm works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. For more information, visit www.noharm.org.