Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Governor Kasich’s Commitment to Renewable Energy in Doubt

Energy

Environment Ohio

Governor Kasich has been ambiguous regarding his support for renewable energy as far back as his campaign for governor. Even at his high-profile Energy Summit in the fall of 2011, when the governor announced his intention to craft a comprehensive overhaul of Ohio energy policy, Gov. Kasich largely avoided the question of whether he sought to expand or contract Ohio’s commitment to renewable energy—and whether he supported continued investment in renewable energy at all.

A week after Gov. John Kasich’s power commission, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), voted to send the developers of the largest solar farm east of the Rockies back to the drawing board, the governor has kept quiet on the project and questions about his administration’s support of clean energy. This comes even as PUCO’s chairman Todd Snitchler has become embroiled in controversy regarding a series of tweets revealing skepticism of the scientific consensus around global warming and a bias against clean energy.

“It speaks volumes about Governor Kasich that he would appoint a chairman of the PUC who is so out of touch of with the opinions of Ohio’s citizens on renewable energy,” said Julian Boggs of Environment Ohio, pointing to public opinion polls indicating overwhelming support for increased investment in solar power.

Gov. Kasich has been ambiguous regarding his support for renewable energy as far back as his campaign for governor. Even at his high-profile Energy Summit in the fall of 2011, when the governor announced his intention to craft a comprehensive overhaul of Ohio energy policy, Gov. Kasich largely avoided the question of whether he sought to expand or contract Ohio’s commitment to renewable energy—and whether he supported continued investment in renewable energy at all. In a move opposed by environmental organizations and the wind industry, Gov. Kasich pushed a bill through the legislature last spring that allowed fossil-fuel based cogeneration technologies to qualify for renewable energy credits at the expense of true renewable energy generation.

All this has left renewable energy advocates uneasy about support for clean energy from the governor’s office.

“The citizens of Ohio deserve to know whether or not Governor Kasich believes Ohio should move forward on renewable energy and whether he supports or rejects solar energy in Ohio. This project would have generated enough solar energy to power 30,000 homes, and put Ohio on the map as a regional leader on solar energy. Now, this decision cast a dark cloud over the future of solar and all clean energy in Ohio,” said Boggs.

Boggs rejected the recent implication by Gov. Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols that PUCO should be immune to public scrutiny. “The Public Utilities Commission wields enormous power when it comes to the direction of energy policy in Ohio,” Boggs said. “There should be more, not less, sunshine on PUCO decisions. Governor Kasich can and should be held accountable for the decisions of his appointees.” 

Though the PUCO is nominally an independent commission, Chairman Snitchler was appointed to his role by Gov. Kasich and has emerged a top energy advisor to the administration. Upon accepting the appointment to PUCO, Chairman Snitchler said a large part of his decision was based on what he saw as an “opportunity to work in tandem with a very dynamic governor."

The PUC regulates Ohio’s four investor-owned utilities, which together occupy the majority of Ohio’s electricity market. One of PUCO’s most important roles in the coming years will be the implementation of Ohio’s energy efficiency standard, which requires that utilities help their customers invest in cost-saving efficiency measures and has already saved Ohio consumers millions on their utility bills. PUCO has broad power over the methods that utilities use to meet or exceed the state’s efficiency goals.

Gov. Kasich is set to make another appointment to PUCO in the coming weeks as he replaces renewable energy and energy efficiency proponent Commissioner Cheryl Roberto, who retired in December. “It will be telling to see how the governor balances out his commission,” said Boggs.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES and ENERGY pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Zak Smith

It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Hector Chapa

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Jörg Carstensen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.

Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.

Read More Show Less
In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less