Ohio to freeze renewable energy rules

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has agreed to sign into law a two-year freeze of the increases in mandates that electric utilities use renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.

Kasich’s office told The Columbus Dispatch Thursday morning that the bill is a compromise between those who want to eliminate the clean energy rules and those who want to keep them intact.

“After a lot of hard work, we’ve got a solid plan to examine the progress Ohio has made while also holding onto that progress,” Kasich’s spokesman said.

Ohio’s House passed the bill Wednesday, and the Senate passed it earlier in May.

A 2008 law requires that Ohio utilities get 25 percent of the power from renewable sources by 2025 and cut power use by customers 22 percent, with annual increases leading up to those goals.

Twenty-nine states have green energy mandates, but Ohio is the first to roll its rules back, the Dispatch reported.

Some major business groups joined electric utilities in supporting the bill, saying the mandates increase costs that get passed onto consumers. Alternative energy advocates and some major industrial interest, such as the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Honda Motor Co. and Whirlpool Corp., opposed it.

The bill passed the House Wednesday almost along party lines, with two Democrats supporting it and six Republicans voting against it, the newspaper reported.