Selected tags: ALEC

Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Under Attack Again by ALEC

Source: Dustin M. Ramsey

Source: Dustin M. Ramsey

Ohio’s clean energy agenda has taken many hits in the past, particularly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a front group and model bill factory for many corporate interests including oil, gas, and coal. Last year, ALEC led an unsuccessful effort to repeal the state’s clean energy standard. The introduction of Ohio’s Senate Bill 310 is the group’s most recent attempt to prevent Ohioans from continuing to enjoy the many benefits of new, clean energy technologies, reasonable electricity rates, and a healthy environment.

Hearings began last week on SB 310, which would freeze any additional energy efficiency or renewable energy mandates in Ohio after 2014. This is an amendment to the landmark 2008 legislation in Ohio requiring the state to acquire 12.5percent of its energy portfolio from renewables and to reduce energy consumption by 22 percent through energy efficiency measures by 2025. If adopted, this freeze would stymie Ohio from reaching its full clean energy potential, attaining instead only about one-tenth of its 2025 renewables goal and one-fifth of its energy efficiency target. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Ohio, Renewable Energy| Also tagged | 6 Responses, comments now closed

Renewable Energy to Thrive in 2014, Despite ALEC’s Aggressive Tactics

Marita MirzatunyNow that 2013 is behind us, it’s important to reflect on the progress of renewable energy last year and identify obstacles that may arise in 2014.

Over the last year, we kept a close eye on multiple clean energy attacks around the country, specifically on the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the various states.  As we have highlighted before, the “man behind the curtain” in these attacks is none other than the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a front group and model bill factory for many corporate interests including oil, gas and coal.

The good news is that from Ohio to Kansas, EDF and other organizations have been successful in preventing ALEC’s aggressive tactics to hamper clean energy.  To date, ALEC has failed to repeal clean energy standards in any state, despite its “Electricity Freedom Act” propaganda and promise that 2013 would be "the most active year ever" for efforts to repeal renewable energy mandates.  Active?  Yes.  Effective?  No.   Read More »

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States Stand Up To ALEC’s Assault On Renewable Energy: Clean Energy – 26 ALEC – O

Back in March, I wrote about the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC’s) state-by-state attack on renewable energy. The attacks contribute to ALEC’s growing reputation as a “shadowy right-wing front group,” funded by the likes of Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. ALEC’s legislative efforts were aided by the Heartland Institute, a “free-market think tank” and notorious climate change denier.

ALEC has a clear motive: to serve the interests of dirty fossil fuel power plants and block progress towards greater use of clean, homegrown energy.

I’m happy to announce that ALEC and the Heartland Institute’s efforts to roll-back individual state’s renewable energy goals decisively failed in legislatures spanning from West Virginia to Kansas. In total, 26 bills designed to remove renewable energy standards (RPS) for eight states were denied, according to a report from Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy.

Now, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin will continue on the path towards a clean energy future. Even better, some states increased their energy guidelines, namely Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and Minnesota.

This news comes as a resounding victory for the climate, consumers, and Americans who care to see the U.S. progress into the global $ 2 billion clean energy economy. Read More »

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The Oil And Gas Industry’s Assault On Renewable Energy

This commentary was originally posted on our EDF Voices blog.

Source: ali_pk/flickr

Renewable energy enjoyed a record year in 2012 – the U.S. wind industry surpassed 50,000 megawatts of electrical power generation capacity and solar proved once again to be the fastest growing energy source in the United States. That's a milestone worth celebrating, since greater use of clean, homegrown energy resources creates jobs, cuts foreign oil imports, stabilizes prices, makes our system more resilient and reduces harmful pollution. The list of benefits is vast. So who could possibly be upset?

Well, some utilities that own old and often dirty fossil fuel power plants are upset that renewables are making it harder for their older, polluting units to stay in business. Then there are oil and gas industry association leaders like American Petroleum Institute (API) president Jack Gerard, who often talk about wanting a “level playing field” – implying that policies promoting renewable energy are unfair to fossil fuels.

Don’t be fooled. Renewable investments pale in comparison to the amount of money poured into fossil fuel companies since 1918 to fatten their bottom lines and crowd out competition. Fossil fuels have received around 75 times more subsidies than clean energy. Up to 2011 (adjusted for inflation), the oil and gas industry received $446.96 billion in cumulative energy subsidies from 1994 to 2009, whereas renewable energy sources received just $5.93 billion. An industry that has been enjoying federal tax subsidies for over a century has no standing to argue for a level playing field.

Heavily subsidized fossil fuels may have made sense 100 years ago, when we were racing to build the energy infrastructure of the last century. But today we're racing to build the clean energy infrastructure of the new century — and we need to support a new set of industries. And we're making real progress.

So it is no surprise that we are seeing a well-funded, industry-backed effort to roll back the policies that have been so successful in developing and deploying renewables. Take, for example, the latest assault on a series of state laws around the country that have increased the amount of clean, renewable energy these states produce.

Front Groups do the Dirty Work for Oil and Gas Industry

So far, 29 states have implemented Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) programs that require increased production of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. They’ve been adopted in red states and blue – from California to Texas to Maine – through democratic processes and with popular support. RPS programs have helped jumpstart an industry that is spurring economic development, creating American jobs, boosting energy independence and cutting our carbon footprint.

A Bloomberg article released last week details how the oil and gas industry, through some self-described free market organizations that they fund, are trying to engineer a legislative massacre of these policies in more than a dozen states.

The groups may sound familiar: American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is currently pushing legislation around the country that would mandate the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems, and The Heartland Institute, which ran a billboard campaign last year comparing global warming "admitters" to Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson. Both have long opposed sensible energy policies. And their funders will sound familiar, too: the oil, gas and coal industries and their owners like the Koch Brothers.

Read More »

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ALEC Updates & Action Alert: State-By-State Renewable Energy Attacks Are Underway

Back in November, I wrote about how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was partnering up with the Heartland Institute to attack renewable energy standards across 29 states. As an organization propped up by the fossil fuel industry, this behavior comes as no surprise. But the sneaky way they are trying to undo laws that encourage solar, wind and other renewable energy sources needs to be exposed and citizens of these states must stand up to the corporate interests desperately holding onto their power to pollute.  Across the country, we are watching ALEC and industry allies try to unravel decades of progressive energy legislation.

In the sunny southwest, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has eliminated the performance-based incentives (PBIs) provided to commercial solar energy customers by the state’s two investor-owned utilities (IOUs). It also drastically reduced the upfront incentives (UFIs) provided by the IOUs to residential solar energy customers. SolarCity Governmental Affairs Director Meghan Nutting explained that “as the Arizona incentives have been slowly reduced, the industry has kept up. Ratepayers have invested in the industry to a point where we are almost without a need for incentives. But a sudden and complete elimination of all incentives that cuts the commercial solar industry off at the knees means we will have to start over.” The ACC decision, she added, means “people are going to lose their jobs in the sunniest state in the country in an industry that Arizona has depended on through the recession and should dominate.” The ACC commissioners’ rationale for the cuts was that they will reduce the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) premium added to Arizona ratepayers’ utility bills to fund solar. The REST premium was established by the ACC in 2007 and is capped at $4.00 per month. Calculations by Arizona solar advocates concluded that the PBI cuts will save APS ratepayers no more than $0.02 to $0.06 per month.

Read More »

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We Cannot Afford To Undo Economic And Environmental Progress In Ohio

EDF is working with Ohio elected officials, the small business community and other stakeholders on adopting an on-bill repayment (OBR) program in Ohio.  As a private capital solution to financing energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) projects, OBR enables building owners to access low-cost capital, with repayment on their utility bills.  Small businesses in particular have trouble accessing affordable financing for energy projects, as it is hard for lenders to assess small to medium-sized business (SMB) credit risk and SMB properties are likely rentals that experience high turnover rates.  OBR provides lenders with significant credit enhancement, since the repayment obligation is tied to the utility meter and survives changes in rental and ownership.  At the same time, utilities and customers can benefit from a well-designed OBR program – one that compensates utilities for their services and allows utilities to receive credit toward state mandates for the OBR-enabled EE and RE investments.

As we at EDF endeavor to increase demand for clean energy projects in Ohio, other parties, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have proposed rollbacks to Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards.  The standards were established by SB 221 in 2008, with bi-partisan support,– and there is a strong effort underway to defend them.  EDF is working with other Ohio clean energy stakeholders to keep the existing standards in place.  As we actively participate in this dialogue, EDF vigorously supports the State’s commitment to investing in clean energy – a commitment that has resulted in environmental and economic progress from which we cannot afford to undo.

EDF’s clean energy economic development series documented progress made in Ohio to date, which is extremely promising:

Stimulating Demand

The 1992 Energy Policy Act seeded demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency through tax credits and other programs.  In Ohio, two important state efforts in 1999 expanded on this federal support.

The Advanced Energy Fund, created by the Ohio Electric Restructuring Act, provided funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  The same bill introduced net metering, which allows homes and businesses that install alternative energy technology — solar, wind, biomass, hydro, etc. — to receive credit for the excess energy their systems generate.  Combined, these two efforts provided ways for individuals to reduce the cost of deploying "clean tech" or even turn it into a revenue generator.   Read More »

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