COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — At the heart of Ohio’s debate over renewable energy is a fundamental disagreement over two goals: reducing carbon emissions and lowering electricity bills.
For average Ohioans, it may sound good to achieve both. But former Ohio utility regulator Ashley Brown, now executive director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, says that’s hardly possible.
He calls the two “mutually exclusive.” When electricity is cheaper, people use more, increasing demand — and carbon-based pollution — from coal-fired power plants. When emitting carbon becomes more expensive, through renewable energy mandates or otherwise, electricity costs rise.
A bill poised for Ohio House passage Wednesday pauses Ohio’s targets for solar, wind and other renewable sources for two years to let a 12-member legislative commission study the matter. The mandates continue in 2017 unless lawmakers act.