The Spotlight

In Ohio and Indiana, Mistakes Were Made

  18 Jun 2015  |    
Last year was a contentious one for pro-clean energy state policies. The usual fossil fuel interests mounted attacks against renewables in states across the country; as usual, most of them failed. But two states – Ohio and Indiana – gave in to these anti-renewable, anti-efficiency attacks. Ohio froze its renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for two years, and Indiana ended its wildly successful “Energizing Indiana” energy efficiency program. Plenty of people criticized those decisions at the time. Now, with some hindsight, it’s clear that both states made a huge mistake.



First, let’s start with Ohio. In 2014, Ohio led the U.S. in wind turbine component manufacturers, and it was 2nd in solar equipment providers.1
Source:
Pew Charitable Trusts, January 2015
http://bit.ly/1OBS8Ot
Despite that, the state legislature decided to freeze the state’s (clearly) successful renewable energy and energy efficiency standards – even though they had reduced electricity bills in the state by 1.4% from 2008 to 2012.2
Source:
Union of Concerned Scientists
http://bit.ly/1CfBpdd


Those savings would continue if those policies were still in place. According to new research from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the typical Ohio household would enjoy an 18% drop in their monthly electric bills by 2030 if the state reinstated its renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.3
Source:
Natural Resources Defense Council, June 2015
http://on.nrdc.org/1GQUgz0
On top of that, those standards alone would help Ohio meet almost all of its Clean Power Plan obligations.

The story is similar in Indiana. In 2014, the state legislature ended the government’s energy efficiency program, “Energizing Indiana.” This week, Indiana’s Utility Regulatory Commission released its annual performance report for Energizing Indiana. No surprises here: Indiana’s decision to end Energizing Indiana will have ramifications for the state’s economy moving forward.

Not only did the program create 18,000 jobs in Indiana, but it also saved enough electricity last year to power 38,000 homes for a year.4
Source:
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, June 2015
http://bit.ly/1dGJuzN
Indiana’s Utility Regulatory Commission also found that nearly every program in Energizing Indiana was exceptionally cost-effective for every utility.

Will this new data cause state legislators to reconsider their positions? Probably not. There was no shortage of evidence that these programs were successful before they were ended, and that couldn’t save them. Still, it’s just more proof that pro-clean energy policies are not only good for the environment of a state, but its economy as well. These case studies should give states (like North Carolina)5
Source:
North Carolina Public Radio, June 2015
http://bit.ly/1MvQQ4H
pause if they’re considering ending renewable portfolio standards and energy efficiency programs.

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