Ohio's Green Energy Success Stories Prove Renewable Energy Policies Work to Stimulate Economy, Reduce Pollution
The timing of Environment Ohio's latest report is certainly no coincidence.
The advocacy group issued Ohio’s Clean Energy Success Story, Year 4 a day after the debate over the state's 2008 renewable energy law nearly came to a head. The Ohio Senate’s Public Utilities Committee planned to meet this week and possibly vote on Senate Bill (SB) 58, which contains drastic changes to the Clean Energy Law proposed by committee chairman Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati). According to The Plain Dealer, Seitz abruptly cancelled the meeting without explanation.
Environment Ohio's report highlights several clean energy wins made possible by the original law. The organization hopes the break in legislative action gives committee members a chance to examine the savings and deployment of renewable technologies that took place during the first few years of Ohio's Clean Energy Law.
“The Clean Energy Law’s proven track record in delivering energy savings and spurring renewable energy development in Ohio show that the law is working as intended," Christian Adams, an Environment Ohio state associate, said. "Senate Bill 58 would take Ohio back to the ‘bad old days’ of wasteful energy use and over-reliance on dirty energy sources."
The report largely takes a why-stop-now approach. One of its chief points is that 2012 marked the first time the state's largest utilities—FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) and American Electric Power (AEP) all met the law's efficiency requirements. Environment Ohio applauds those companies for their advances, including:
- Appliance recycling programs operated by the four companies, which offer financial incentives to recycle inefficient appliances. Collectively, they recycled 21,899 inefficient refrigerators, 5,698 freezers and 823 room air conditioners last year.
- DP&L's distribution of more than 1.7 million high-efficiency lighting fixtures to customers. The lighting program saved enough energy to power more than nearly 7,000 Ohio homes for a year at a cost of 3.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, or one-third of the retail cost of electricity in Ohio.
- FirstEnergy agreed last year to buy renewable energy credits from Iberdrola's 304 megawatt (MW) Blue Creek Wind Farm project, which helped the company meet a buy-in requirement.
Solar and wind capacity in Ohio have also skyrocketed since 2008.
Instead of ridding Ohio of renewable energy requirements as Seitz suggested, Environment Ohio calls for more support from public officials in making Ohio an even greener state. Suggestions in the report include more facilitation utilities in securing long-term contracts for renewable energy and the development of a robust plan from the state Environmental Protection Agency to keep Ohio in line with federal regulations.
"The PUCO should support long-term projects that offer significant environmental and economic benefits to Ohio, such as AEP’s 49 MW Turning Point Solar Project (which was denied approval by the PUCO in January 2013)," the report reads.
Meanwhile, the meeting regarding SB 58 has yet to be rescheduled. An anonymous environmental lobbyist indicated that not all Ohio republicans are behind Seitz, telling The Plain Dealer that "it's chaos" in the statehouse.
“The Clean Energy Law is getting results for the Buckeye State,” Adams said. “Four years in, Ohio’s Clean Energy Law is reducing pollution, cutting our dependence on coal and gas, creating jobs and saving Ohioans money.”
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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