Let the energy market handle it

Remember the law approved by the Ohio legislature in 2008 that requires electric utilities to obtain 25 percent of their power from “renewable” sources by 2025 – with half of that coming from sources such as solar and wind energy?

A proposal to freeze that shift in its tracks has been introduced in the Ohio Senate. The reason: The switch to renewables is causing electricity costs to rise.

“We’ve spent $1.1 billion since 2009,” State Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, said.

Not surprisingly, renewable energy interests oppose halting the clean energy push. What may be surprising is that opponents claim Ohio’s energy standards have saved electric customers money.

Can both sides be correct?


That’s because the state’s energy policy also requires utilities to seek a 22-percent gain in efficiency of electrical use by 2025. That’s why utilities have been encouraging customers to install energy-efficient lights and replace old, inefficient appliances. Industrial users are becoming more efficient in energy usage, too.

A study cited by the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy states the cost savings cited resulted from using less electricity, canceling out the costs of adding solar and wind power to the mix.

This points to a potential compromise on the issue. Electrical companies could continue programs that encourage customers to be efficient with the use of energy. Meanwhile, makers of solar panels and wind-powered generators could work to make their wares increasingly cost-effective alternatives to fossil-fueled power plants.

Legislators and lobbyists needn’t be involved.