The Energy Summit concluded with a rousing speech by Governor Kasich who sought to rally all of the various energy industry sectors, academia, the environmental community, and others around a common purpose:  to develop a comprehensive energy policy for the state that will allow Ohio to thrive economically.  Emphasizing that every industry sector "has a role to play," he repeatedly called on industries to "get out of their silos" and work together for the greater good of the State.  He also emphasized said that the conference is not the end of the discussion but rather the beginning, and that "working groups" will form around a variety of key issues to see where state policy can improve.  Some key themes of his remarks:  

  1. Shale Gas:  Shale Gas is going to be a central part of Ohio's future and he will challenge anyone who says that horizontal fracturing cannot be done safely.  He was extremely passionate and expansive on this point.
  2. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): can help the state and the region break its dependence on foreign oil.  He said Ohio will work with neighboring states on energy transporation policy and in fact already spoke with the Governor of Pennsylvania.
  3. Energy Efficiency (EE):  Energy efficiency is a "slam dunk" and his administration will focus on EE, including building on the "good work of the last administration."  He also said the state would lead by example and upgrade the efficiency of the public building stock.
  4. Renewables:  The Governor reiterated his support for wind and solar energy and said "the renewable people should be happy with themselves."  However, he also stated that co-generation should play a more prominent role and that perhaps the state's renewable portfolio standard should be modified in some way to include co-gen. 

The Governor did not wade very deeply into the complex issues of regulated versus de-regulated electricity markets and how utilities might achieve greater certainty surrounding cost recovery for long term investments in new generation (the subject of a spirited debate between the CEOs of AEP and FirstEnergy during the conference's opening session).