The Ohio House on Friday released legislation (HB 6) to bailout nuclear power out of the wallets of Ohio ratepayers. This is being done in an attempt to delay the closure of two First Energy nuclear power plants. Ohioans would be forced to pay hundreds of millions in taxes through electric bills to create this subsidy.
To add insult to injury, HB 6 was introduced under the name “Ohio Clean Air Program”. Yet, the bill guts Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard by making it completely voluntary. Solar opponents in the legislature have tried for years to set renewable energy back in this way. This bill is just their latest attempt.
While HB 6 would set up a fund for renewable energy projects, utilization of the fund only allows solar projects in excess of 50 MW. This is far larger than any residential or small commercial system. Further, the fund excludes rural electric cooperatives and municipal solar projects. Ohio’s largest current solar array is 20 MW and owned by a municipality.
It is clear that renewable energy sources, like solar, are not the intended recipient of this fund. A large portion of the fund would be set aside for traditional power plants to lower emissions- meaning “Clean Air Program” funding could go to coal plants. We are analyzing the full impact of this bill and will have an update as more details develop. What is clear is that true clean power is here already and cheaper than nuclear and coal power generators that are seeking subsidies to stay in operation. Ohioans should not being paying more for outdated dirty technology.