While 2008 will certainly be remembered for the economic crisis impacting Ohio, the nation, and the worldwide economy, this year should also be remembered as a watershed year for Ohio’s new green economy. As we look forward to a new year and new opportunities in 2009, the following are reflections on some of the most noteworthy 2008 events that have set the stage for Ohio’s new green economy.
- Ohio Commits to Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard
On May 1, 2008, Governor Strickland signed Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221 establishing Ohio’s commitment to developing advanced and renewable energy resources in the state. Senate Bill 221 aggressively requires 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from advanced and renewable energy resources by 2025, and at least half of the 12.5 percent of mandatory renewable energy to be generated in the state. For more detail on SB 221, see http://www.bricker.com/publications/articles/1249.pdf.
- Ohio Commits to Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Standards
In addition to establishing benchmarks for advanced and renewable energy, Senate Bill 221 also established mandatory benchmarks for both efficiency-based energy reductions and peak demand energy reductions for each of the state’s electric Green Strategies Client Bulletin No. 01-22 Green Strategies Client Bulletin utilities. For more information see http:// www.bricker.com/legalservices/practice/green/sb221chart.pdf.
- Ohio enacts $400 million Clean Ohio Bond Fund
Ohio voters approved a $400 million package to replenish the Clean Ohio Bond Fund in the November General Election. The Fund, part of a bi-partisan economic stimulus package aimed at increasing jobs and investments in the state, focuses on Brownfield re-development. Read more at http://www.bricker.com/publications/articles/1337.pdf.
- Ohio Commits $150 Million to Develop and Implement Green Technologies
As part of the State’s Job Stimulus Package, $150 million has been placed in the Advanced Energy Job Stimulus Fund administered by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA). Over the next three years OAQDA will leverage this fund to foster alternative and renewable energy commercialization and development in the state. For more information, see http://www.bricker.com/publications/articles/1366.pdf.
- New Opportunities for Wind Energy in Ohio
The wind energy industry has been touted as the starting point for Ohio’s renewable energy job creation plan. In addition to Senate Bill 221, legislation in 2008 removed major wind projects above five MW from local zoning oversight. Importantly, Bricker & Eckler also provided detailed analysis of how Ohio’s tax laws will impact wind projects coming into the state. For more information, see http://www.bricker.com//publications/articles/1314.pdf.
- Ohio’s Schools Continue Commitment to Going Green; Now Solar Ready
In September 2007, the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission committed to greening Ohio’s schools by requiring that all new school construction be at least LEED (“Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design”) rated silver. This month, the OSFC also revised its design manual to comply with special provisions in Senate Bill 221 requiring Ohio’s public schools to be solar ready.
- Ohio Recognizes Biomass Opportunities In the State
As a top ten agricultural commodity producer nationally, Oho has substantial opportunities for biomass to develop as a widespread energy production technology. Importantly, Ohio is recognizing its resources and beginning to leverage them to create new opportunities for biomass energy and fuel production. For more information, see http://www.bricker.com/publications/articles/1289.pdf.
- Ohio Poised to Capitalize and Create New Green Jobs
Ohio has made an aggressive commitment to alternative and renewable energy intended to be the foundation for its new green economy. This commitment should create new opportunities and new jobs for Ohioans in areas from skilled manufacturing labor to industrial trucking to agriculture.