The Ohio General Assembly recently considered three bills that could impact advanced energy and energy efficiency in Ohio.

House Bill 7. The bill requires all new building constructed using state capital budget money (including educational facilities trust fund) to meet green building standards as defined by the bill. These standards include:

  • Green Building. Must meet Silver LEED standard or 2 Green Globes or higher. The Director of the Department of Administrative Services may also assign another standard as long as it is a national recognized green building rating standard.
  • Energy Efficiency. Buildings must also either exceed by 30 percent current ASHRAE standards or achieve not less than a 77 rating under energy star.

Buildings may be exempt from the requirements of the bill if they are less than 5,000 square feet, do not consume any energy from HVAC systems, or cost less than $500,000 to construct. Each state agency overseeing the erection of the buildings in question will be responsible for the compliance with these requirements.

The bill was passed in the House of Representatives on December 16, 2009 by a 54-42 vote and has been referred to the Senate Finance & Financial Institutions Commmittee.

Senate Bill 223 . This bill expands the Solar Special Improvement District ("Solar SID") program to include other means of alternative energy. The language expands the current program, which includes solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies, to include wind, geothermal, or energy efficiency technologies that "reduce energy consumption or support the production of clean, renewable energy on [the] real property." Either private or public entities can take advantage of the SID program.

As with the initial Solar SID, participating municipalities must adopt an ordinance to establish the SID. That ordinance must spell out what qualifies as "alternative energy technologies." In addition, the bill amends the code sections addressing special improvement districts (Chapter 1710) to include solar PV, solar thermal, wind energy, geothermal, biomass or gasification, or energy efficiency improvement in the definition for "Special energy improvement projects" that now qualify under the SID program. The amended language also allows a SID to pay for "consulting" and "energy auditing" as part of its planning for projects.

SB 223 was introduced January 12 and has been referred to the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee.

House Bill 113 . The Ohio House of Representatives passed an amended House Bill 113 which promotes advanced energy projects at Ohio's Primary and Secondary schools. The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. If passed as currently enacted, HB 113 bill creates a pilot project for school districts instead to participate in the project.

The provisions in the bill set different renewable energy generation standards based on school enrollment and shorten the allowable pay-back period from the originally proposed 30-year timeline to the new 15-year timeline. In addition, a floor amendment to the bill makes it easier for school boards to terminate a contract with a provider "if the board determines that the cost the district pays for the electricity generated by the renewable energy system is substantially greater than the retail rate of electricity that would have been payable by the district if the system had not been installed."

The bill is now under consideration in the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee.