With about ten days until election day races around the country are getting more heated. Ohio’s race for Governor is a study in contrasts on many issues. Energy policy is certainly one of them.
Governor Strickland has pushed the development of advanced energy projects aggressively during his tenure. Through passage of Senate Bill 221, he created the states renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating 12.5% of the State’s energy come from renewable sources.
He also created grant programs that sought to foster renewable energy projects in the State, such as the Advanced Energy Fund. According to the Ohio Department of Development’s webpage the Advanced Energy Fund has made more than $41.9 million in investment in nearly 400 advanced energy projects. The Fund is set to expire at the end of this year.
Congressman Kasich has built a solid lead in the polls. One of his more creative proposals is to do away with the Ohio Department of Development as it is currently constructed. He wants to transform the Agency into a non-profit organization with corporate board members.
How will his proposal impact the development of advanced energy in the State? It may depend upon the membership of the board. The business community has some deep divisions when it comes to advanced energy. Those same divisions appear between the candidates.
Kasich has expressed concern with renewable mandates and subsidies. In a September Plain Dealer article this is how his spokesperson described his stance:
Strickland said the Republican would consider repealing an Ohio policy requiring that 12.5 percent of the power sold in Ohio come from renewable technologies by 2025.
The Kasich campaign said the governor’s portrayal of Kasich’s stance is inaccurate.
"John does not oppose the renewable energy standard and would not seek to repeal it," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in an e-mail.
Kasich recently questioned the cost of the energy standard in an interview with the Dayton Daily News. He said he disagreed with the mandate if it increases consumers’ utility bills.
Manufacturers who are deeply concerned about rising electricity prices in Ohio like Kasich’s stance- go for the lowest cost alternative. Renewable energy manufacturers and companies that supply parts to those project may have a different perspective.