FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2015

Contact: Gabe Elsner, Energy & Policy Institute, (202) 297-0145, elsnerg@energyandpolicy.org


Today, the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee has released a report recommending that state legislature indefinitely freeze the state’s renewable and energy efficiency standards.

Energy & Policy Institute’s Executive Director Gabe Elsner released the following statement:

“The Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee failed to consider the overall economic costs/benefits of the renewable and energy efficiency standards. The majority of the committee members instead relied on a flawed study from Strata Policy, a front group with financial ties to the Koch Brothers.

The committee’s recommendation to eliminate the standards will have a minimal impact on Ohio’s electricity rates, but gut billions of dollars of investment in Ohio’s clean energy economy. The report fails to accurately consider the aggregate impact of the AEPS by simply reported the costs without considering the benefits of the AEPS.

In reality, the costs of the alternative energy rider is only 1% of electricity bills or .1 cents per kilowatt hour and the costs of the energy efficiency standard lead to savings between 1.6 to 3 times according to reporting by Ohio utilities.”
In a section of the report titled, “Future Costs of Mandates,” Ryan Yonk of Utah State University and Strata Policy is cited in an attempt to further justify the committee’s position. Yonk’s report has serious flaws according to Michael Goggin at the American Wind Energy Association. The study uses a “statistical trick to blame the Great Recession on renewable energy” according to Goggin, and misses the most basic statistical principle: correlation is not causation. Strata and USU would have simply needed to look at a state without a renewable energy standard to see that the economic downturn was not a result of the state enacting a renewable energy standard.

A recent study by venture capital firm DBL Investors reaffirmed that renewable energy standards do not negatively affect the economy. DBL found that “states relying more on renewable generation have experienced retail electricity prices comparable to, or cheaper than, states relying less on renewable generation.”

Furthermore, in April 2015, Yonk’s colleague Randy Simmons, had an op-ed published in Newsweek attacking clean energy. But the publication failed to disclose his ties to the Koch Brothers and fossil fuel funding. Newsweek added this note after publication recognizing Simmons ties to fossil fuel interests:

The author of this piece, Randy Simmons, is the Charles G. Koch professor of political economy at Utah State University. He’s also a senior fellow at the Koch- and ExxonMobil-funded Property and Environment Research Center. These ties to the oil industry weren’t originally disclosed in this piece.

Of all the testimony presented to the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee this year, only five were directly critical of the standards. The other pieces of testimony explained the significant benefits for Ohio ratepayers, were neutral, or instead focused on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Each of the five pieces of testimony that advocated against the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards come from special interests tied to the fossil fuel or utility industry. This could possibly explain why Governor John Kasich, through a spokesperson, called the committee’s recommendation, “unacceptable.”

“Ohio legislators should be cautious of any action to freeze, eliminate, make voluntary or weaken the standard because clearly the study committee has relied on special interest groups to come to their conclusion,” Elsner said.
For the timeline of how Ohio state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards became frozen, click here.

 

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About E&PI: The Energy & Policy Institute is a pro-clean energy think tank working to expose attacks on clean technology and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests.

 

Posted by Gabe Elsner

Gabe Elsner is the founder and executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute. He is a thought leader on defending policies from attacks by incumbent energy interests and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, The Australian, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. The Energy & Policy Institute’s work has protected dozens of public policies that support the growth of the clean-tech industry.

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