A step backward for Ohio?


Backers of a bill that would bail out Ohio’s two nuclear power plants claim it is the comprehensive energy policy our state needs to move toward a lower-carbon future. …

As it is, House Bill 6 would wipe out Ohio’s primary means for boosting development of renewable energy and actually would open the door to subsidies for fossil-fueled plants. Supporters claim it provides an improved incentive system for clean energy development, but many questions remain on how that would work.

Without significant improvements, it will amount to a giant step backward for Ohio’s economy.

Sponsors acknowledge that the bill is complicated and say they expect it to be amended. It’ll have to be in order to win over many bailout skeptics and live up to its supporters’ claims. …

While wind and solar energy are growing in Ohio, the two nuclear plants still account for the vast majority of zero carbon power in the state, so estimates are that they would claim about half of the $300 million the monthly fees would generate. That’s the bailout opponents object to. …

Imagine what Ohio could accomplish by actually supporting renewables.

HB 6 in its current form doesn’t do that. It mostly supports the status quo with the nuclear bailout and provisions that would allow natural gas and even coal plants to claim “clean power” funding if they reduce their emissions somewhat — the bill doesn’t define by how much. …

But the bailout request presents an opportunity to leverage support for a clean energy future, and lawmakers shouldn’t be rushed into a law that would saddle Ohioans with the expenses of the past without providing a clean path to the future.

— The Columbus Dispatch; Online: https://bit.ly/2ZpzYdk