January 30, 2018 Read More →

Editorial: Let Ohio Join 21st-Century Energy Markets

Columbus Dispatch:

Ohio is at an energy crossroads: We can join states and countries that are broadening their options by encouraging the development of wind, solar and other alternative sources, or we can protect the status quo and ignore innovations. The latter path is all too comfortable to current state lawmakers.

Two pending bills help frame the issues. Senate Bill 238 would reverse a 2014 law change that significantly increased the setback, or distance that wind turbines must be from neighboring properties. That meant wind-farm developers couldn’t put as many turbines (and make as much money) on a given piece of property, and new wind-farm applications essentially have dried up since.

Passing the bill, and returning setbacks to something close to what they were in 2014, likely would breathe new life into Ohio wind development.

House Bill 114, on the other hand, would take Ohio backward by turning the state’s renewable-energy standards — a requirement that, by 2026, 12.5 percent of the power sold by utilities come from renewable sources — into voluntary targets. It was approved by the House in March and sits in the Senate.

Technological improvement is steadily shrinking the cost of renewables, and research is accelerated by standards that spur more companies to the field. States that sit back and wait for the cost to come down risk being left out of a thriving industry of the future.

Just as important, replacing fossil fuels with renewables has value beyond dollars and cents, offering the prospect of cleaner air and water and less of the environmental destruction that comes with mining and drilling.

More: Editorial: Don’t undermine renewable sources

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