Ohio Employers and Investors Urge Senate to Oppose Energy Bill
October 19, 2017 /3BL Media/ - As Ohio Senate lawmakers hear testimony on HB 114, major businesses, investors and trade associations representing more than 30,000 employees, are voicing their opposition to the proposal. The businesses state that HB 114 would dismantle the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and create prolonged uncertainty for the private sector.
In a letter to the Senate committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Burton Snowboards, Clif Bar & Co., Gap Inc., IKEA North America Services LLC, JLL, Nestlé, Trillium Asset Management and others, stressed the importance of clean energy standards to help businesses cut energy costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices and stay competitive. Businesses have been vocal about their support for clean energy policies and their concerns about policy uncertainty over the last three years.
“The uncertainty around Ohio’s energy policy makes it difficult for companies in our supply chain to plan for the future and invest in Ohio,” said Elysa Hammond, vice president of environmental stewardship at Clif Bar & Company. “At Clif Bar, we treat energy like an ingredient, which is why we have committed to 50 percent or more renewable energy within our supply chain by 2020. HB 114 only serves to delay clean energy investments. We call on lawmakers to vote no on HB 114.”
In addition, a group of Ohio manufacturers and trade associations opposed provisions that would undermine Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Standard and programs that eliminate energy waste. The group included Whirlpool Corporation, Dow Chemical Company, Schneider Electric, Ameresco, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association among others. Their testimony stated, "We encourage you to keep Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Standard intact. Energy efficiency programs are good for all Ohio businesses and residents."
HB 114 would reduce the state’s energy efficiency resource standard to 17 percent in 2027, from the original 22.5 percent target, and will weaken the effectiveness of the standard by expanding what counts as efficiency improvements. The bill will further restrict investment and growth in the state by removing the requirements for utilities to invest in some of the most competitive and least-cost energy resources – renewable energy and energy efficiency.
This bill will allow utilities to scale back their energy efficiency programs, depriving not only their customers, but all Ohioans of valuable cost savings. It will also allow utilities to charge customers for energy savings generated in the past.
Two years ago, Ohio launched an experiment on energy policy, becoming the first state to freeze its energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. The freeze was lifted in December 2016 when Gov. Kasich vetoed a similar bill, HB 554, citing the importance of clean energy standards to the business community. The business community has been vocal about their support for clean energy policies and their concerns about policy uncertainty over the last three years.
While the original standards were in place, investments in Ohio’s clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated over $160 million in annual GDP growth. States with clean energy standards are better able to meet the needs of businesses and offer diverse energy options – helping Ohio compete in today’s global economy.
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.