Ohio Introduces Clean Energy Bill

Ohio proposes a bill that would provide credits to zero-emission power producers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court denies appeals challenging ZECs in Illinois and New York.

The Ohio legislature has introduced a draft law that would provide clean energy credits to zero-emission power producers, including nuclear plants. Through the bill, dubbed the Ohio Clean Air Program, Representatives Jamie Callender and Shane Wilkin also aim to lower customers’ electric bills.

OCAP is intended to provide incentives to electric power generators that produce zero-carbon emissions, reduce emissions or invest in clean energy, while also looking for ways to offer an alternative way to encourage cleaner energy production in the state.

Currently, Ohio’s residential, commercial and industrial energy customers, through mandates on their bills, pay monthly charges for renewable and energy efficiency/peak demand services. The new bill proposes to keep those programs available to customers as options but replace them with the new OCAP proposition. The OCAP would appear on customer bills, and its issuers estimate that for most customers it will be lower than the amount charged by the mandates and programs.

 

Currently, the average residential customer pays $4.39 in mandates. The bill will save on average $1.89 under the new program. The new statewide rate for the Clean Air Program is:

  • $2.50 per month for residential customers
  • $20 per month for commercial customers
  • $250 per month for industrial customers
  • $2,500 per month for very large users (45 million kilowatt hours a year)

The bill would create a fund and program, administered by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, which will certify Clean Air Resources and Reduced Emissions Resources. Certified Clean Air Resources—which produce zero-carbon emissions—will report each month to the QAQDA their megawatt hours generated and will receive credits based on a formula. Under the bill, the QAQDA will also develop a program for generators which reduce their emissions. moreover, it is projected that the OCAP will collect approximately $300 million per year.

“The good news for electric customers is that for many, their bills will actually go down,” said Representative Callender, chair of the House Public Utilities Committee & co-sponsor of the bill, in prepared remarks. “This is because there are already charges on their bills in the form of a Renewal Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Standard/Peak Demand. The new program seeks to offer an alternative way to encourage cleaner energy production in Ohio.”

“We all have a duty to be stewards of the environment,” stated Representative Larry Householder, one of the speakers at the press conference. “We can all agree that we need to improve the quality of our air, water and ground. We must ensure these are as clean as practical and we leave our environment healthy for our children and grandchildren. This program will steer our state in the right energy and clean air direction for 11.6 million Ohioans.”

Supreme Court affidavit

The initiative appears to be supported by the U.S. Supreme Court, as recently as this week it refused to hear challenges to zero emissions credits in New York and Illinois. Exelon Corp., a Fortune 100 energy company that does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, issued the following press statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision:

“Today our nation’s highest court let stand two appellate court decisions affirming that states have a right to protect their citizens by favoring clean energy—including nuclear—over pollution-emitting energy from coal, oil and natural gas power plants. This decision is a win for consumers, policymakers and regulators in states that choose to support the continued operation of nuclear plants as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and address the effects of climate change.”