Written by Laura Michelle Burns
This past year, we upgraded the insulation in our home and added a new energy-efficient furnace. Although Ohio’s winter wasn’t that harsh, with temperatures similar to those in 2011 and 2012, I was interested to see what these changes would mean for our wallet. Since our home has a newly improved seal from outside weather, we knew we wouldn’t be wasting the energy we’d previously paid for. It goes without saying that the less energy we waste, the less energy we pay. In these uncertain economic times, it makes sense to increase efficiency.
The upgrades to my home brought significantly lower utility bills this winter. I’m now a member of a group of consumers and businesses that have saved more than $1 BILLION on energy bills. This is thanks to Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. This law requires that by the year 2025, 12.5% of the energy sold statewide MUST be generated by renewable sources. As a bonus, a minimum of half of this energy needs to be generated in state.
Finally, this standard requires that the utility companies reduce peak energy demand. In order to accomplish all of these wise, future-reaching goals, utility companies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into programs that help homeowners and businesses upgrade to high-efficiency lighting, appliances and other tools and technologies that will bring them up to the new standards. One such program is the Energy Assistance Program here in Ohio. Qualifying families can receive energy, and money saving benefits because Ohio’s government teamed up with utility companies and local contractors.
Recently, in Columbus, a group of experts gathered with the Union of Concerned Scientists (MCAF partner) to encourage Ohio state senators to consider the many benefits of clean energy standards. Considering these benefits, it thrills me to see that when we work toward a cleaner energy source, we boost the economy and simultaneously protect our health.
Investing in renewable energy and energy-saving technologies has brought business to hundreds of companies across the state that employ tens of thousands of Ohioans while cutting dangerous air pollution and carbon emissions that drive climate change.” ~Steve Frenkel, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Midwest office
Right now, Ohio senators are reviewing the standards and making decisions as whether or not they should listen to outside groups who would like to freeze, repeal or simply weaken the renewable energy policies in any way they can. This isn’t without precedent as Missouri and Kansas have already had their renewable energy standards attacked by groups with funding from fossil fuel companies. Did you know that in Kansas, a bill to weaken their energy standard was rejected even with a Republican super majority? The people’s opposition of repealing the standards was clear at a hearing with testimony from the Chamber of Commerce, county commissioners, steelworkers and faith-based groups.
Ohio needs clean energy now. It will bring jobs and economic growth to our state. Our legislators are willing to listen to our message, but we must speak up. Tell your senators that you want Ohio’s Clean Energy to become a part of your life and the future of your children!
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