Fight to Repeal Renewable Energy Policy Extends to Energy Efficiency

The fight to repeal Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) goes beyond solar, wind and other renewables – it also includes attacks on energy efficiency standards, which many states include as part of the RPS.

On the national level, the Manufacturers Association is one of the key groups that fight regulations, but in Ohio, the local chapter wants the efficiency mandate to stay in force, as do businesses large and small.

State Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) require utilities to help customers reduce energy demand and have their own set of goals. 24 states have adopted and adequately funded them.

Enacted in 2008 with almost unanimous bipartisan support, Ohio’s standard requires utilities to help customers cut energy use 22% by 2025.

The following year, Ohio’s utilities saved over 530,000 megawatt-hours, ten times the savings of the previous year, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. It’s expect to save ratepayers $5.7 billion by 2020.

But Republicans are supporting utility, FirstEnergy Corp., which wants the rules frozen at 2012 levels, which require just 0.8% reduction in energy use.  Why? As we’ve been reporting, using less energy (and more distributed renewables) cuts into its profits, which depend on growth. Needing so little energy might also mean less demand for Ohio’s fracked gas, it fears.

Other utilities in the state are comfortable with the standard, perhaps because they have learned how to profit from it.

The Ohio Manufacturers Association wants the standard because it lowers members’ cost of production and insulates them from rising rates as well lowering wholesale costs, says Cleveland.com.

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