The Toledo Blade:
If necessary, Gov. John Kasich must once again step in to protect modest and reasonable standards that nudge Ohio toward cleaner sources of energy.
The Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill that softens the 2008 mandate requiring utilities to get more of their power from green sources. The measure would still set renewable energy goals, but would attach no penalties for noncompliance.
Mr. Kasich vetoed a similar measure last year.
The bill would turn the requirement in current law that FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, and other electric utilities find 12.5 percent of their electricity from solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources by 2027 into goals accompanied by no enforcement penalties.
It would also allow customers to opt out of paying for riders on their bills tied to the purchase of renewable power if a utility makes the business decision to proceed in that direction.
The bill keeps the mandate that the utilities find ways to reduce overall energy usage, but reduces that mandate from the 22.2 percent by 2027 in the current law to 17.2 percent.
The original 2008 mandates were reasonable standards with a real chance to move Ohio forward, both in terms of creating a healthier environment and by building a solid foundation for green-energy industry in the state.
When he vetoed the rollback measure last year, the governor said the bill would hamper a growing industry and also cost Ohio consumers in decreased energy efficiency. From 2008 to 2012, the energy efficiency mandated by the standards helped Ohio consumers save more than $1 billion, Mr. Kasich said.
The Ohio Senate should reject this repeat attempt to stall the state’s movement toward more sustainable energy sources. And if they don’t, the governor should veto it again.