State Sen. Bill Seitz says he’s working on a bill that would cap how much utilities can spend on energy efficiency programs and eliminate requirements for in-state wind and solar power. But the proposal isn’t completely unique to Ohio, which is just one of many states in which national conservative groups are working to weaken state energy standards.
Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, told Gongwer that his bill will keep requirements for utilities to provide 25 percent of their electricity from alternative sources and reduce customers’ consumption by 22 percent by 2025.
But the other measures will likely weaken renewable energy and efficiency standards set by Ohio’s Clean Energy Law in 2008.
Seitz is on the board of directors of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that’s gone from state to state to push legislation that typically favors corporate interests.
ALEC previously teamed up with the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that gets funding from oil companies, to write legislation that pulls back state energy rules. The effort has so far failed in 13 states, including an earlier attempt in Ohio.
A report from advocacy group Environment Ohio found the current energy standards have successfully spurred clean energy projects all around the state. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in 2011 installed solar panels in its parking lot that generate enough electricity to meet 20 percent of electricity needs and reduce pollution associated with global warming by 1,775 tons annually, according to the report.
But the standards are written in a way that favors in-state sources. A June 2013 ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that in-state preferences are an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause.
Seitz will introduce his bill in the next two weeks.