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Open letter to Governor Kasich and Ohio Legislators regarding Senate Bill 58, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources

4/25/2013 8:30:00 AM Click here for printable version

April 25, 2013

Governor John  Kasich
77  S. High St., 30th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Governor Kasich,

We, the undersigned members of Cuyahoga County Council, write this letter of strong support for the State of Ohio’s continued movement toward greater energy independence, economic development through energy innovation, and environmental stewardship. Right now, there is an intense push by some very well funded special interest groups to hamper Ohio’s efforts to be competitive in the new energy economy by weakening energy efficiency and renewable energy standards passed into law in 2008. 

In just five years since passage, Ohio’s current energy standards have saved Ohio’s electricity customers almost $2 billion on their electric bills, saved over 3 million megawatt hours of electricity through efficiency, and employed 35,000 Ohioans in clean energy industries and related supply chain companies. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has established that for every million dollars spent on energy efficiency, 21 jobs are created; for every million spent on traditional energy sources only 7 jobs are created. Additional benefits resulting from these shifts in energy usage and sourcing include increased economic opportunity created by lowered energy costs and increased employment in the nascent renewable energy industry.

Renewable energy has the potential to lower costs and create jobs.  Investments in clean energy are making Ohio more and more competitive. In the midst of Ohio’s recession, one of the only industries that grew was Ohio’s clean energy sector. In 2011 and 2012 the largest expenditures of capital in our state were renewable energy investments. The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) recently installed a 1.1 megawatt solar field, with close to 4,200 solar panels, and produces power on a post-industrial brown field site that would otherwise go unused. CMHA will save several million dollars over the life of the solar panels.

Despite the near universal understanding of the importance of reducing energy costs through efficiency and maintaining the economic and environmental sustainability of our energy economy, Senate Bill 58, currently under review in the Ohio Legislature, presents a potential threat to the great strides that Ohio has made. Ostensibly introduced as a measure to review the overwhelmingly popular energy efficiency and renewable energy source requirements passed into law in a very bipartisan process, SB 58 opens the door, not only to a halt in the progress we have made in Ohio, but a reversal in our commitment to future industry, innovation and efficiency.

As Ohio and Cuyahoga County recover from the worst recession in living memory, we cannot afford to increase rates by abandoning energy efficiency; or jeopardize jobs and investment by rolling back our renewable energy standards. There is one sure-fire way to increase energy costs in Ohio; and that is to remove our energy efficiency programs. We urge you to affirm your support for lower electricity bills, increased jobs, and sustainability.

Sincerely,


Sincerely,

 Julian Rogers, District 10

Dale Miller, District 2

Dan Brady, District 3

Pernel Jones, Jr., District 8

Sunny M. Simon, District 11

Chuck Germana, District 4

Yvonne M. Conwell, District 7         

Michael J. Gallagher, District 5

Jack Schron, District 6 C. Ellen Connally, District 9