Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Ohio's Energy Future Is Bright Unless FirstEnergy Gets Its Way

Energy

Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) has been trumpeting recommendations of a legislative committee to put Ohio’s clean-energy laws permanently on ice.

Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) has been trumpeting recommendations of a legislative committee to put Ohio’s clean-energy laws permanently on ice.

Freezing Ohio's clean-energy standards would be bad news for Ohio’s economy, jobs, electric consumers and the environment. But the Energy Mandates Study Committee appears ready to do just that. The legislature created the committee when it voted in 2014 to temporarily freeze Ohio’s clean-energy standards and become the first state in the nation to do so. The committee is now recommending the freeze be made permanent.

Why would the state legislature want to permanently freeze the standards? Good question. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a very inspiring answer.

FirstEnergy, Ohio’s largest electric monopoly, takes issue with Ohio’s clean-energy laws and has been fighting them for years. Ohio requires the state’s biggest electric monopoly to invest in its competition and jumpstart a more competitive market for energy services. Why would they want to do that? Well, they don’t, obviously.

FirstEnergy has dominated Northern Ohio’s energy market for decades and been paid handsomely for it. Advances in technology, however, now enable us to break down the electric monopoly. We are at the cusp of a technological revolution in the way we do energy, just like the way cell phones changed telecommunications.

The time has come for investing in the next generation of energy and more competitive energy markets. But big energy won’t give up market domination and monopoly profits willingly. Hence, a mandate on Ohio’s monopolies is necessary and beneficial.

Renewable energy is a manufactured science. Since the sun and wind are an unlimited resource, the more we invest in the technology to capture it, the cheaper and more efficient it will get. The future of energy, unfettered by special interests, portends solar on every rooftop. Imagine all the roofing jobs created to install solar on rooftops all across Ohio.

Energy efficiency already makes economic sense. However, there are numerous market barriers standing in the way of wise energy choices. For instance, neither renters nor landlords have any incentive to make rental properties more efficient since the renter pays the energy bills while the landlord owns the property.

In fact, the market for electricity is itself heinously inefficient. For every three lumps of coal, you only get one out. Only a market dominated by monopolies could withstand this level of inefficiency.

Investments in combined heat and power technology can more than double the efficiency with which we make electricity, while putting people to work in good-paying jobs and reducing the high level of emissions emitted by the electric power sector. Targeted investments in this technology can also make our manufacturing sector leaner, greener and more globally competitive.

Ohio’s clean-energy laws have also driven increasing investments in low-income home weatherization, permanently lowering utility bills for struggling households while putting people to work insulating their homes.

The future of energy is bright for Ohio, unless FirstEnergy and its legislative partner in crime, Sen. Bill Seitz, get their way.

I hope we don’t let that happen.

Amanda Woodrum is a Policy Matters Ohio energy and sustainability researcher.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Koch Brothers: Apocalyptical Forces of Ignorance and Greed, Says RFK Jr.

How the Oil & Gas Industry Turned Colorado From Blue to Red

Fracking Boom Bursts in Face of Low Oil Prices

Exxon Advertised Against Climate Change for Decades After Top Executives Knew Burning Fossil Fuels Would Warm the Planet

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less