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Ohio Legislature Mulls Renewable Standard Changes

Ohio’s mandate that utilities find more of their power from renewable sources is hampering the state’s economic comeback, a study presented Monday to a state panel considering the future of those standards suggested.

The study, conducted by Utah State University, suggested that states such as Ohio with renewable electricity standards have not fared as well as states without them. It said this trend will continue, leading to a difference of about 29,000 jobs by 2026, mostly in industrial and manufacturing sectors, which are the biggest users of electricity.

A special joint state House and state Senate Energy Mandates Study Committee held its last hearing on the standards last week, and will prepare a final report to fellow lawmakers regarding its recommendations for Ohio’s renewable energy requirements and energy efficiency mandates by Sept. 30.

Ohio is in the middle of a two-year timeout in its renewable energy policies. State law previously required that utilities find at least 25 percent of their power from renewable and advanced technology sources by the year 2025.  Last year, Ohio lawmakers froze the annual benchmarks on that timeline. Should lawmakers lift the freeze, the benchmarks would resume in 2017, although the ultimate 25 percent goal would be delayed until 2027.