Ohio Governor John R. Kasich concluded his 21st Century Energy & Economic Summit on September 22nd, which was sponsored by the Battelle Memorial Institute and hosted by The Ohio State University on September 21 through 22, 2011.
The summit brought together major stakeholders in energy, environment, and economic development realms, including executives from energy and transportation companies, environmental groups, academics, executive and legislative leaders, and industry association representatives. Over 1,000 individuals participated in the two day conference.
The summit addressed a variety of issues relating to energy, including electric power generation and transmission, energy efficiency, alternative energy including wind and solar energy, coal, and natural gas and oil derived from Marcellus and Utica shale. Despite the diverse sources of energy discussed at the summit, the clear focus of the event was on the utilization of Marcellus, and especially Utica, shale in Ohio.
On the first day, Joseph A. Stanislaw, Ph.D., an independent senior advisor for energy and sustainability at Deloitte LLP, opened the conference and asked attendees to challenge the notion that good stewardship of energy and the environment cannot co-exist.
Following Dr. Stanislaw, Governor Kasich welcomed the attendees and encouraged them to think about all various aspects of energy. He emphasized the need for the United States to wean itself from the dependence of foreign sources of energy, and asserted that Ohio could be part of the answer through alternative energy and energy from Utica shale as well as coal.
The first day continued with panels discussing power generation, transmission, demand, and efficiency lead by the chief executives of all of the Ohio electric power generation companies, including First Energy, Dayton Power & Light, American Electric Power, American Municipal Power, and Duke Energy. The panel on coal provided a lively conversation between Bob Murray, the chief executive officer of Murray Energy Corporation, and Henry Henderson, a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The role of renewable and alternative energy as well as energy efficiency was also a focus of the energy summit. The impact of co-generation, which involves the production of energy from waste heat, was often discussed throughout the summit as a form of energy that should be included in the conversation on renewable and alternative energy.
The clear focus of the first day of the summit was the impact of Marcellus and Utica shale in Ohio. Two separate panels were convened on the topic. The first panel involved major oil and gas explorers and developers, which notably included Aubrey K. McClendon, the chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and John B. Walker, the chief executive of EnerVest, Ltd.
The second panel discussed the downstream utilization of oil and gas resources, especially the impact on the petrochemical industry and the refining industry in Ohio. The first day of the summit ended with a discussion on the impacts of energy, particularly from Marcellus and Utica shale, on the environment and Ohio communities, and with closing remarks by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor on the Common Sense Initiative.
On the second day, the summit held discussions about the transportation industry and how alternative energy could impact transportation and manufacturing in the state. Several concurrent panels discussed a number of topics relating to energy, from regulations, to human capital and education, to how Ohio manufacturers can benefit from an energy policy, to how Ohio’s energy resources can be developed responsibly while protecting the environment and other natural resources.
The summit concluded with a keynote speech by Governor Kasich, in which he announced several policy initiatives. The governor conveyed general support for advanced and renewable energy, but stated that he is open to modifying state law requiring utilities to utilize these forms of generation. He also indicated that he believes that co-generation could play a larger role and perhaps be included in Ohio’s advanced and renewable energy law
The Governor also announced an initiative in which he is inviting the governor of Pennsylvania to join with Ohio to explore converting both of the state’s vehicle fleets to compressed natural gas. He further emphasized the need for more educational opportunities, particularly in vocational and technical schools, to retrain the Ohio workforce for energy opportunities, as well as cooperation with Ohio businesses on job training. The Governor closed the summit by asking the participants to continue to work with the administration to craft an energy policy for Ohio.