Selected tags: Ohio

What LEED Did for Buildings, This Could do for Shale Gas Production

Matt Watson PhotoThis commentary originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) put out the Open For Business sign today – a key milestone in this innovative effort to up the game on environmental protection in shale gas development.  The question now is, will energy companies step up?

We hope so.

CSSD is an unprecedented collaboration – bringing together environmental groups, philanthropic organizations and energy companies to develop performance standards for reducing environmental impacts from shale gas production, and setting up a system so gas producers can have their operations audited and certified against those standards.

CSSD isn’t a substitute for effective regulation.  Strong rules and robust oversight is a nonnegotiable bottom line.  But we like the idea of upping the ante.  Why not have a program that recognizes companies for going beyond the regulatory minimums and doing more to protect communities and the environment?  These companies are tough competitors – so let’s make environmental performance part of what they compete on. Read More »

Posted in Climate, Natural Gas, Pennsylvania| Also tagged , , , | 1 Response, 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 »

Posted in Renewable Energy, Texas| Also tagged , , , | 1 Response, comments now closed

EDF Steps Up to Protect Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards

John Finnigan PhotoOhio’s clean energy standards have helped jumpstart an industry that is spurring economic development, creating jobs, boosting energy independence and cutting the state’s carbon footprint.  Recently, these standards have come under attack and EDF’s own Cheryl Roberto, Associate Vice President of Smart Power, stepped up to defend them by testifying before the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Commission on Senate Bill 58 (S.B. 58).  As a former Ohio Public Utility Commissioner herself, Roberto made it clear that S.B. 58 would destroy Ohio’s clean energy standards and unjustly enrich the state’s electric utilities.

Ohio adopted clean energy standards in 2008, and is one of 29 states with a renewable energy standard and one of 25 states with an energy efficiency standard.  Based on these standards, Ohio will acquire 12.5% of its power by renewable energy and will reduce its energy use by 22% by 2025.  The energy efficiency standard has allowed Ohio to reduce its energy use by over 3%, and the renewable energy standard has already added 466 mw of wind energy in the state, enough to power 466,000 homes.  Ohio is now ranked fourth in the nation for wind energy jobs, with over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs supported by the industry.

Credit: Julia Collins

Credit: Julia Collins

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group of conservative state legislators, is leading a nationwide effort to repeal state clean energy standards, including S.B. 58 in Ohio.  ALEC has previously supported controversial “stand your ground” laws as well as laws classifying environmental civil disobedience as terrorism.  To date, ALEC has failed to repeal clean energy standards in any state.  Read More »

Posted in General, Renewable Energy| Also tagged | 1 Response, comments now closed

Ohio Consumers And Businesses Come Together To Support Energy Efficiency

Most states have long-term renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.  Ohio’s energy efficiency resource standard saves over 700,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually, more than the energy generated by a new fossil fuel power plant.  Ohio’s energy efficiency law is under attack, even though Ohio’s targets are right in the middle compared to other states’ targets.

Source: Clean Energy Ohio

Ironically, the consumers who pay for energy efficiency are not leading this attack.  Rather, the attack comes from certain electric utilities and the advocacy groups they support: the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heartland Institute.  The utilities claim to be protecting consumers from the costs of the energy efficiency programs, but they really want to protect their own electricity sales.

One argument raised against energy efficiency programs is that they cost too much.  Energy programs, however, must pass a cost/benefit test.  The programs will be offered only if the value of energy savings exceeds the program costs.  In many cases, the energy savings are two or three times greater than the program costs.

Another argument is that all consumers pay for the programs, but only those who use the programs benefit.  A few large Ohio industrial companies have raised this argument.  But these companies develop their own energy efficiency programs, so they don’t pay for utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs.  Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency| Also tagged | 2 Responses, comments now closed

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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