More than 80 people representing more than 20 solar and wind energy companies attended the Green Energy Ohio “Green Energy Future Conference: New Leadership &  New Strategies" on 11/18/16 in Columbus, Ohio. 

The next few weeks are an important time in Ohio for the renewable energy industry. The Ohio State Legislature are meeting to discuss and enact legislation for House Bill 554 and Senate Bill 320. These pieces of legislation will decide the future of the Ohio renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS). This energy conference was planned in advance of the Legislative meetings to discuss and coordinate a comprehensive industry response. Leading the Ohio Legislative update was a panel including Alexandria Mock, Government Affairs Director from Government Edge, Steve Caminati, Senior Vice President from Melamed Communications, and Trish Demeter, the Managing Director of Energy Programs for Ohio Environmental Council.

YellowLite will have a representative testifying before the House and Senate committees next week on Tuesday, 11/29.

Several presentations focused on the power of community solar as an affordable, economic option for citizens to pool their money and lock in lower prices over the next few decades. An overview of community solar projects was presented showing a number of projects across the state. Currently there are approximately 2,200 solar installations in the state of Ohio totaling just north of 132 MW of installed solar. The majority of the installed solar is utility solar, installed in fields across the state.

The luncheon keynote address was on “Solar in Appalachia.” The previous decades have seen a steady change in energy production away from coal and toward natural gas and the adoption of renewable energy. In its stead, tens of thousands of jobs in the coal industry have been lost, hitting the Appalachian region especially hard. These jobs in coal are not coming back. In order to fill the void, solar installation and manufacturing jobs that could not be exported would be needed to provide an economic stimulus to an area hard hit by the great Recession.

Finally, a presentation on options for empowering Ohio’s energy market displayed several different policy choices that could occur through the adoption of an enhanced Ohio RPS. The importance of this legislation is in the economic and social impact that would result. Here are some numbers: 

·         Jobs – creation of between 82,300 to 136,000 new jobs in Ohio.

·         Payroll – Renewable energy companies are set to increase Ohio’s payroll between $4.6-7.6 Billion by 2030.

·         GDP – Ohio’s GDP could increase between $6.7-10.7 Billion.

·         Health – Reduced health care costs, in particular for those affected by asthma and cardiovascular disease, could save between $800 Million to $3 Billion a year by 2030. 

·         Consumer Savings – Electricity savings for consumers expected to reach $28.8-50.9 Million by 2030.  

The reality is that Ohio is the 7th largest state in the nation and uses a tremendous amount of energy. How our energy future is expected to evolve will be impacted in a major way. Solar is still a small community in the State of Ohio, however, it is a competitive, close-knit community as well. The evolution of our policy will affect how much the end consumer will be charged and how quickly the adoption rate will be. This is an important time both economically and environmentally.

YellowLite is proud to provide leadership for the state of Ohio’s renewable energy industry and look forward to testifying before the House and Senate committees next week. We look forward to be part of an organized effort to reinstate the RPS and continue our progress toward a cleaner, healthier environment.