Legislation to freeze Ohio's RPS becomes law

By Erin Voegele | June 17, 2014

On June 13, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that will freeze the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for two years. The move comes less than two weeks after the U.S. EPA announced ground-breaking proposal, titled the Clean Power Plan, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Renewable energy standards, such as Ohio’s RPS, are expected to aid in meeting those emission goals. 

Ohio, however, has now taken a step backward for clean energy with the signing of S.B. 310. The Ohio legislature passed the bill in May. The measure will freeze the state’s RPS for two years. Among other changes, it also adds a provision to state law that requires the public utilities commission to adopt rules governing the disclosure of the cost of renewable energy resources, energy efficiency savings and peak demand reduction requirements to consumers.

Ohio first enacted its RPS in 2008. The standard originally required 0.25 percent renewable energy in 2009, ramping up to 12.5 percent in 2024 and following years. The RPS also includes specific requirements for solar energy.

The RPS requirement for this year is 2.5 percent. With the new law, that requirement will now be kept in place for an additional two years. The RPS will increase to 3.5 percent in 2017, 4.5 percent in 2018, 5.5 percent in 2019, 6.5 percent in 2020, 7.5 percent in 2021, 8.5 percent in 2022, 9.5 percent in 2023, 11.5 percent in 2025 and 12.5 percent in 2026 and later years.

While S.B. 310 is now law, a recent poll released by the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy shows that Ohio voters were actually in favor of maintaining the RPS. During a hearing held by the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in May, Ted Ford, president and CEO of Ohio Advanced energy Economy, called the legislation an anti-consumer and anti-business measure.