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Lawmakers Propose New Renewable Energy Standards, Streamlining Clean Energy Projects and Investing in 'Energy Rooted in Equity'

Turbines at the Hog Creek Wind Farm in Hardin County in 2017
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Turbines operate at the Hog Creek Wind Farm in Hardin County in 2017. A new bill proposed by state lawmakers will make building wind and solar projects easier, among other things.

The bill requires that by 2050, all electricity generated in Ohio would come from renewable sources, and clean energy development would be directed toward communities most harmed by current energy policies.

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) said it will speak to younger people considering leaving Ohio.

“What do you think it would do mentally, emotionally?" Howse said at a press conference at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. "You’d be like, ‘You know what? They’re actually thinking about our future.’ They will actually have, plant seeds that ‘I want to be here. I want to raise my family here.’”

The bill would also make building wind and solar projects easier, give regulators more audit and investigation power over utilities, and create an Office of Energy Justice to oversee decisions of the Public Utilities Commission.

Though the nuclear power plant subsidies in the sweeping nuclear power plant bailout known as House Bill 6 have been repealed, there are other elements of the law still in place, including subsidies for two coal-fired power plants.

Howse’s co-sponsor Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) said one place where he thinks there’s common ground between Republicans and Democrats is on coal.

“We are actively propping up, on the backs of Ohioans, a completely non-competitive source of energy that is shutting down everywhere else," Weinstein said. "And I’m proud to say there’s bipartisan support to end the subsidies on coal. We’re talking about the next step beyond that.”

But natural gas is still a big part of Ohio’s energy policy. And in a legislature dominated by Republicans, many of whom voted to pull back on renewable energy standards before effectively killing them in House Bill 6, this bill faces an uphill battle.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.