by Eric Sandy
Senate Bill 58 is widely backed by utility companies like FirstEnergy because it would rid them of bipartisan-backed restrictions on energy production first approved in 2008. According to those current mandates, 25 percent of all energy in the state must come from renewable resources by 2025.
Lorry Wagner, the president of LEEDCo, is overseeing an offshore wind turbine project here in Cleveland. He told WKSU that the bill, as is, would gut push similar efforts out of Ohio. (He added that LEEDCo's current project would likely continue, despite losing the renewable energy credits.)
Here's the introduction to an extremely relevant white paper put together by the Union of Concerned Scientists regarding Ohio's energy output:
Ohio stands at a crossroads. As the state retires its aging fleet of coal power plants, it must decide which energy resources will best serve Ohio ratepayers over the coming decades.
Natural gas has been the primary fuel of choice in recent years, but shifting to an electricity system dependent on coal and natural gas does not alleviate the myriad risks — to the environment, economy, or public health — posed by coal alone. In fact, it sustains them, and creates new ones.
By integrating significant amounts of renewable energy and energy efficiency into its energy mix, Ohio can build a more diverse electricity portfolio that minimizes these risks while meeting energy demand cost-effectively and sustainably.