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Ohioans Support Strong Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policies

Energy
Ohioans Support Strong Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policies

Ohioans for Clean Affordable Energy

Yesterday, a diverse group of organizations announced that they have joined forces to create Ohioans for Clean Affordable Energy, a new coalition to help promote the state’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) and renewable portfolio standard (RPS). This statewide consumer coalition will be working to demonstrate broad-based support for the development and adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency projects to keep rates affordable and improve the environment for all residents.

On the eve of the five-year anniversary of Senate Bill 221, the law that enacted Ohio’s RPS and EERS, this broad coalition of organizations who normally aren’t on the same page of many policy issues—all agree that the current standards are helping Ohioans.

“We may not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but we can all agree that Ohio’s clean energy law is good for the state,” said Nolan Moser, director of energy and clean air programs with the Ohio Environmental Council.

In response to the Ohio Senate’s review of the law, these organizations felt it was critical to speak with a unified voice and promote these standards as a proven method for keeping the price of electricity low.

“When states invest in clean energy and energy efficiency programs, there is a corresponding reduction in harmful emissions, giving us all healthier air and reducing asthma attacks and improving lung health for our kids,” said Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio. “While we are seeing slow and steady improvement in our air quality, a reversal of Ohio’s clean energy standard will slash this progress and only prove to worsen health issues related to air pollution.”
 
This coalition plans to engage in the public policy process, but just as important will be engaging the public. The coalition has launched a new website to provide the general public with information and opportunities to take action. Members of the coalition plan to host community forums, town halls, roundtables and other types of events.

“We all know that a mother’s love is the world’s most sustainable, renewable energy source available,” said Laura Burns of the Moms Clean Air Force. “But Ohio’s clean energy standards are a close second. By maintaining this investment, we will help create jobs, clean the air and protect our children’s health and futures.”
 
As a result of Ohio’s clean energy law, more than 1,000 renewable energy projects have been constructed in Ohio—including the Blue Creek Wind Farm, the state’s largest wind farm, which consists of 102 wind turbines and produces enough electricity to power 76,000 homes.

In addition, the state’s energy efficiency programs will deliver a savings of $1.5 billion in electricity costs for Ohio consumers, meaning that ratepayers will see an average savings of $3 on their utility bills for every $1 utilities spend on energy efficiency improvements. The state’s advanced energy industry employs 25,000 Ohioans and energy efficiency industry employs 10,000 Ohioans.

Current coalition members include: American Lung Association, Mom’s Clean Air Force, BlueGreen Alliance, University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio, Union of Concerned Scientists, Ohio Environmental Council, Policy Matters Ohio, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Ohio League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Law and Policy Center.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLE ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

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Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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