News Column

Renewable Energy Saves Money, Too

November 21, 2013

Steve Bennish, Dayton Daily News

wind turbine
Ohio's laws on renewable energy are saving money and boosting solar and wind power, group says (file image)

Nov. 21--A new research report by Environment Ohio, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, says Ohio's renewable energy laws are working by fine-tuning energy consumption and savings for consumers.

Between January 2009 when the state's renewable energy law kicked in and December 2012, the state has cut five million megawatt-hours of cumulative energy consumption -- more than enough electricity to power Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton for a year, the report said.

It has reduced peak electricity demand by 1,583 megawatts -- the equivalent capacity of Ohio's sixth-largest power plant. Also, 313 megawatts of wind power and 25 megawatts of solar energy were added statewide in 2012, which could produce more power than Dayton households use in a year.

"The clean energy law is getting results for the Buckeye State," said Christian Adams, Environment Ohio State Associate. "Four years in, Ohio's clean energy law is reducing pollution, cutting our dependence on coal and gas, creating jobs, and saving Ohioans money."

Environment Ohio said the law has attracted business to the state like Iberdrola Renewables, a developer of the Blue Creek Wind Farm -- a 304 MW project that came online in June 2012.

The law, passed in 2008, requires Ohio utilties to get 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and save 22 percent of their electricity through energy efficiency by 2025.

At least half of the renewable energy required must be purchased from in-state projects. Environment Ohio cited Ohio Public Utilities Commission data showing Ohio received 78 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants last year.

Environment Ohio said that in 2012, for the first time since the law came into effect, FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, Dayton Power & Light and American Electric Power met the law's energy efficiency, peak demand reduction and renewable energy requirements.

The report said that specific programs fostered by the law include:

-- DP&L's Lighting Program that distributed more than 1.7 million high-efficiency lighting fixtures to customers and saved enough energy to power more than 6,759 Ohio homes for a year at a cost of 3.8 cents per kilowatt-hour -- one third the retail cost of electricity in Ohio.

-- Appliance recycling programs, which offer financial incentives to unplug and recycle old energy-inefficient appliances, run by all four of Ohio's investor owned utilities. They recycled 21,899 inefficient refrigerators, 5,698 freezers, and 823 room air conditioners in 2012.

-- AEP's Prescriptive Business Program, which targets institutions to deliver big savings by providing incentives to reduce up-front costs of pre-approved energy efficient equipment, aided 35 Ohio hospitals save more than 40,000 megawatt-hours of electricity over the past three years.

-- AEP's Renewable Energy Technology Program provided incentives for 166 small renewable energy installations between July 2011 and June 2013, while the renewable energy standards established by the law is driving the development of wind and solar energy across the state.

-- In 2012, Ohio added the 304 MW Blue Creek Wind Farm, in part because FirstEnergy agreed to purchase renewable energy credits from the project in order to meet their buy-Ohio renewable energy requirements.

SB221 is also advancing manufacturing in Ohio, the report said, such as creating a market for the U.S.'s largest solar module manufacturer in Perrysburg and helping grow several other solar module manufacturers in Northwest Ohio.


(c)2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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Source: (c)2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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