NO on SB 52 and HB 118
A Clean Energy Investment & Jobs Killer
Ohio SB 52 and HB118 subject renewable energy projects to a new layer of government regulation in addition to the state process not applied to any other source.
The bill adds tremendous new political risk to energy infrastructure projects that will deter investors from providing the upfront capital needed to build projects. The bills act as an effective moratorium. At a time when private sector demand for renewables is at an all-time high, government intervention in the marketplace would choke supply, raise prices, and hurt Ohio’s business climate.
We strongly oppose SB 52 and HB 118. Here's why:
Anti-Economic Development: The market for solar and wind is creating great economic opportunity in rural Ohio, allowing landowners, school districts, and political subdivisions to share in a new prosperity. The state should not erect political barriers to these benefits.
Anti-Consumer: By artificially restricting supply, the bills drive up electricity costs. The legislation targets certain resources at the expense of a prudent, diversified portfolio.
Anti-Business: Ohio companies across sectors are increasingly choosing to obtain fixed-cost renewables. These bills dramatically hinder their ability to exercise energy choice, manage their energy costs, and take control of their energy future.
Anti-Certainty: The bills set a troublesome precedent whereby infrastructure projects are politicized, and will have a chilling effect on future projects of all kinds.
Retroactive: The legislation is written to apply to projects already pending at the Siting Board or pending for a local permit. Companies have spent millions of dollars to get to this point in good faith reliance on current law. SB 52/HB 118 pulls the rug out from under them and may well violate the prohibition on ex post facto laws.
Real Life Example: An Ohio renewable energy project will bring $130 million in investment, 100 construction jobs, and 10 permanent jobs to a local community. It would deliver $50 million in landowner payments, $55 million in local school funding revenue, and $25 million in local tax revenue to fund police, fire, and county and township services while requiring very little in terms of local services.
It sits in a township of about 500 residents,196 of whom voted in 2018. Under the bills, signatures from just 16 residents would subject the entire project to a local vote, and 99 “no” votes kills the project.Importantly, the “township vote” will likely never actually occur because the inherent political risk will dry up the capital needed to pursue it in the first place.
For these reasons and more, we urge you to call your legislators and tell them to oppose SB 52
Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee
Opponent Testimony on Senate Bill 52
Testimony of Melissa K. English, Deputy Director, Ohio Citizen Action
March 23, 2021
Chair Peterson, Vice-Chair Schuring, Ranking Member Williams, and Members of the Energy & Public Utilities Committee, my name is Melissa English and I’m the Deputy Director of Ohio Citizen Action. I thank you for the opportunity to present our opposition to Senate Bill 52.
I speak to you today on behalf of Ohio Citizen Action’s 32,000 members and all Ohio utility ratepayers who have a stake in the decision before you.
The market for solar and wind is creating great economic opportunity in all corners of Ohio. This allows for landowners, school districts, and political subdivisions in rural Ohio to also share in a prosperity that is often denied to these areas. The state should not use the legislative process to erect political barriers to these benefits through bills like Senate Bill 52.
By artificially restricting supply and requiring a referendum process at the local level for wind and solar projects, this legislation will drive up electricity costs and targets certain energy generation resources at the expense of a prudent, diversified portfolio. Many of our elected leaders like to tout their support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy. But Senate Bill 52 reflects the opposite of that philosophy by singling out clean energy generation sources and imposing a veritable moratorium on wind and solar development. We cannot have it both ways.
Ohio companies across all sectors are increasingly choosing to obtain fixed-cost renewable energy to power their operations. Senate Bill 52 dramatically hinders their ability to exercise energy choice, manage their energy costs, and take control of their energy future. This will only serve to dissuade these companies from staying in or relocating to Ohio. Many Fortune 500 companies are proud to have adopted both short and long-term renewable energy and sustainability goals. As you consider this legislation, remember that measures such as these raise a red flag to these large companies that Ohio is not ready to grow with them moving forward.
Finally, it is important to note that Senate Bill 52 is written to apply to projects that are already pending with Ohio’s Power Siting Board or for a local permit. Wind and solar development companies have in some cases spent millions of dollars to usher their projects through the process in good faith reliance on current law. Senate Bill 52 pulls the rug out from under these projects and provides absolutely no incentives to bring any future projects forward in Ohio.
We appreciate the opportunity to submit written testimony in opposition of Senate Bill 52 and ask that you instead consider what might be the best investment Ohio could make to improve air quality, save utility consumers money, and foster economic growth in all areas of the state. This may well be the last chance we get to do this right.