The Ohio House of Representatives Alternative Energy Committee announced it will hold a hearing to consider a bill that would extend the Advanced Energy Fund (AEF), a popular grant program that supports development of renewable and advanced energy projects around the state. Without legislative action, the AEF will lose its funding on December 31. The bill in question -- House Bill 301, sponsored by Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) -- would extend the AEF until 2025 and increase the fee that funds the AEF from the current, uniform 9 cents a month on the electric bills of all customers of the state's four investor-owned utilities, to $1 per month for residential customers, $10 per month for commercial customers, and $50 per month for industrial customers.

The hearing will be held on Tues., Nov. 30, at 3:30 pm in Room 114 of the Ohio Statehouse. The bill would face an uphill battle even it clears the Alternative Energy Committee, chaired by Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Heights). It would still have to receive the OK of the full Ohio House and Senate and outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland. But with the recent electoral shakeup, including the election of Republican John Kasich for Governor and the Republican takeover of the Ohio House, it is unclear how extensive the legislative agenda will be for the remainder of 2010.