Gov. Kasich ensures wind power has a future in Ohio

During the holidays Ohio Gov. John Kasich took an important step you might have missed: he vetoed a bill that would have made the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) voluntary for the next two years.

That would have essentially frozen further renewable energy development in Ohio.

Gov. Kasich said allowing the bill to become law would “amount to self-inflicted damage both to our state’s near- and long-term economic competitiveness.”

Now, Ohio’s families and businesses can look forward to more wind growth, taking advantage of the state’s abundant resource. That will create more local jobs and new orders for Ohio’s nation-leading 62 factories that build wind turbine parts.

“Sub. HB 554 risks undermining this progress by taking away some of those energy generation options, particularly the very options most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high technology firms,” Gov. Kasich said, explaining the veto’s rationale.

Wind energy has attracted exactly those sorts of high-tech firms to Ohio, creating entirely new employment opportunities. For example, Amazon has built three large new data centers in Ohio, largely because it was able to power them with wind.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial board applauded Gov. Kasich’s move, noting “(He) has sided with taxpayers and in the cause of Ohio jobs and the state’s future.”

“Alternative energy is a major economic factor in Ohio now, supporting good-paying manufacturing and research jobs,” the Plain Dealer’s board had previously said. “There would be more jobs if Ohio were friendlier to alternative energy companies.”

Here’s what others are saying about the veto:

  • “Today Gov. Kasich put economic growth over politics, and stood up for a cleaner, healthier energy future for Ohio. With the state’s renewable and efficiency standards back in place, Ohio can reclaim its spot as a clean energy leader, clearing the way for well-paying jobs, millions in investment, and healthier air for all.” – Dick Munson, Midwest Clean Energy Director, Environmental Defense Fund
  • “The vast majority of Ohioans support clean energy and want more of it.” – Andy Holzhauser, CEO, Great Cincinnati Energy Alliance
  • “We are grateful for Governor Kasich’s leadership on the issue of energy reform…We want Ohio to lead the nation in energy production to provide jobs for our families, savings for our churches, and safety for our children through American energy independence.” – Christian Coalition of Ohio
  • “Conservative politics and profitable clean energy go hand-in-hand. Governor Kasich gets it and Ohioans owe him a big thanks.” Audubon Society

For Ohioans to really capture the greatest economic benefits of increasing their commitment to clean energy, lawmakers could revisit the state’s onerous wind project setback requirements. At present, they’re by far the country’s most restrictive and are likely to be a barrier to further wind development.

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