What’s Next for Ohio’s RPS?

Monday, November 12, 2018

While, taken as a whole, many in the State of Ohio may not know about the debate surrounding its renewable portfolio standard (RPS), this policy is a crucial part of the state’s efforts to grow its clean energy industry and protect its environment.  What is this, and what’s next for Ohio’s RPS?

An RPS is a state-level legislative mandate that orders regulated electric utilities to have a certain percentage of their generation portfolio made up of renewable resources by a certain date.  Various technologies, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, may count toward an RPS.  Some states even implement ‘carve-outs’ or ‘set-asides’ which require an explicit percentage from a specific technology.  Renewable energy credit (REC) markets can also develop as a byproduct of RPS policies, allowing distributed energy investors to sell the credits from their systems to the utilities to comply with an RPS, forming an effective financial incentive for investment in renewable energy.

The State of Ohio enacted its RPS policy in 2008, with a 12.5% renewable energy goal (by either generation or procurement) by 2026, and a 0.5% solar energy carve-out.  This was passed under Democratic governor Ted Strickland and a Republican-dominated legislature.  However, in 2013, Ohio passed Senate Bill 310, which ‘froze’ this RPS from 2014 to 2016.  Among other reasons, such as party politics, the freeze was enacted to allow legislators to better study the standards to understand the best path forward, forming an Energy Mandates Study Committee.

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