Energy bill goes to Ohio senate

By: 
Larry Limpf

News Editor
news@presspublications.com
Reaction to the Ohio House of Representatives passing the bill creating the Ohio Clean Air Program was swift and varied.
House members voted 53-43 Wednesday, sending House Bill 6 to the senate.
Neil Waggoner, campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Ohio, said the bill hurts the state’s clean energy and efficiency standards and establishes a new energy tax on electric customers to bail out two nuclear plants operated by FirstEnergy Solutions and coal plants operated by Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.
“What an absolute embarrassment for Ohio and complete disregard for facts and sound public policy. The House Bill 6 ‘clean air program’ is a farce that will only make the air in Ohio worse and cost Ohioans more,” he said. “Ohio needs a real comprehensive energy policy. House Bill 6 is the opposite of that. The Senate needs to stand up for itself and Ohio constituents, not bow to outside pressure like the House.”
Governor Mike DeWine acknowledged the issue of energy “is difficult because there are so many Ohioans affected and so many parties interested in the outcome.”
“As I have previously stated, Ohio needs to maintain carbon-free nuclear energy generation as part of our energy portfolio. In addition, these energy jobs are vital to Ohio’s economy. I look forward to this legislative discussion continuing in the Ohio Senate,” the governor said.
The Ohio Clean Air Program would be administered by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority.
The bill allows a nuclear or solar facility to apply to be a certified clean air resource to be eligible for the clean air program.
Customers of an electric distribution utility will pay a per-account monthly charge to fund the program through 2026.
Sponsors of the bill are projecting the surcharges will generate nearly $200 million by then.
The bill awards a “clean air credit” worth up to $9 for each megawatt hour of electricity a
clean air resource produces. The facility will receive payments for each credit.
The bill repeals the existing alternative energy portfolio standard as of Jan. 1, 2020 and generally exempts consumers from the corresponding charges that fund it.
Revenues of the Clean Air Program fund will be prioritized so they are disbursed first to nuclear facilities then to solar energy facilities.

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