REPORT: We now live in the Age of Electricity. In a manner similar to the previous Ages of Mankind, Stone, Bronze, Iron and Industrial, electricity is a key aspect of all our lives. It keeps us warm in the winter (even natural gas furnaces require a blower to distribute the air), makes the latitudes below the 35th parallel north habitable in the summer, and provides the current to keep our communications current…32 states have cheaper electricity for residential consumers than Ohio…Yet, other states that rely on their fossil fuel resources, like Ohio, manage to have significantly less expensive electricity for their consumers than Ohio…West Virginia’s 9.33 cents and Louisiana’s 9.49 cents per kilowatt hour (Kwh) are nearly 25 percent less expensive than Ohio’s 12.38 average cents/Kwh for consumers…Some may suggest that pressures to increase the share of electricity generated by renewable sources are responsible for Ohio’s higher costs. However, solar and wind generation currently produce less than 2% of Ohio’s electricity. Iowa, Colorado and North Dakota are heavily dependent on coal, like Ohio. Those states generate 29 percent, 11.5 percent and 17 percent respectively from wind, solar and related renewable resources, and all have cheaper electricity for consumers than Ohio. (see Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, “Everyone is Unhappy” – January 19, 2016).
LEGAL, Ohio: Omega Crop Co., LLC, Appellant, v. Ohio Power Siting Board, Appellee (pending in the Ohio Supreme Court, filed 12/30/15) - wind setbacks and the rule-making process on setbacks
Duke Energy Ohio Inc., RDR-Application to establish tariff riders that do not have another specific code, PUCO Case #15-0050-GA-RDR (pending re-hearing) – “fixed means fixed” for fixed-price electricity contracts that bar added charges; PUCO rules on “pass-through charges” on businesses to cover the unexpectedly high costs to obtain electricity during extreme cold.
LEGAL, Federal: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association (decided in the U.S. Supreme Court on 1/25/16) - FERC’s decision to compensate demand response providers at the locational marginal price, which is the same price paid to generators, instead of at the locational marginal price less the retail rate for electricity…See also American Bar Association, FERC v. EPSA: Implications for State and Federal Regulation, 2/9/16 Recorded Teleconference, MP4
Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing (pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, Arguments on 2/24/16) – issues are (1) Whether, when a seller offers to build generation and sell wholesale power on a fixed-rate contract basis, the Federal Power Act field-preempts a state order directing retail utilities to enter into the contract; and (2) whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s acceptance of an annual regional capacity auction preempts states from requiring retail utilities to contract at fixed rates with sellers who are willing to commit to sell into the auction on a long-term basis.
REPORT: Ohio’s 21st century energy policy should embrace cleaner resources and technological innovation to benefit both businesses and consumers. An energy future centered around these characteristics would invigorate a rapidly growing renewable energy and energy efficiency market that diversifies the state’s portfolio, establish market certainty, ensure reliability and affordability, transform access to the grid, promote sustainable communities, and leave a healthy legacy for future generations. To transform this vision into reality requires a series of policies that reflect bold leadership, long-term planning and leverages the regional strengths of the state. (see Ohio’s Energy Future Tour - September 9, 2015)
OHIO: With its large population, heavily industrial economy, and highly variable climate, Ohio is among the top 10 states in total energy consumption. The Utica Shale formation has potential crude oil and natural gas liquids resources that could significantly add to Ohio’s reserve base. Ohio is among the top 10 petroleum-consuming states in the nation. Total petroleum demand in Ohio far exceeds the state’s production. Ohio’s natural gas reserves and production more than doubled from 2012 to 2013 but are still less than 1% of the nation’s total. Bituminous coal is Ohio’s primary fossil fuel resource. The state is the 10th-largest coal-producer in the nation and the 6th-largest producer of bituminous coal. The primary fuel for electricity generation in Ohio is coal – 8 of Ohio’s 10 largest power plants by capacity are coal-fired. Because Ohio’s net generation does not meet state demand, Ohio is a net recipient of electricity from outside the state. The residential sector accounts for the greatest share of retail sales of electricity in Ohio, followed by the industrial sector. Wind is Ohio’s primary renewable energy resource. Since construction of the first wind farm in 2004, several larger wind generation facilities have been built, and by 2014 Ohio had 32 projects online—3 utility-scale and 29 smaller facilities. The 304-megawatt Blue Creek Wind Farm, located in northwestern Ohio, is the largest and has 152 2-megawatt turbines. Offshore wind-powered generation in Lake Erie is being explored, and a demonstration project called Icebreaker is in development in Lake Erie northwest of Cleveland. Biomass from wood and wood waste, as well as municipal solid waste and landfill gas, has contributed to Ohio’s net electricity generation for some time. The solar power requirement in Ohio’s renewable energy standard has encouraged solar projects. The state’s two largest solar facilities are the 12-megawatt Wyandot Solar Farm and the 9.8-megawatt Napoleon Solar Project. Additional opportunities for solar generation exist on Ohio’s residential and business rooftops. (See U.S. Energy Information Administration - As Reported: March 19, 2015)