© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Environmentalists Blasts New Ohio Energy Bill

The entrance to Energy Harbor's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Ron Schwane
Associated Press
The entrance to FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Environmental advocates say the Senate’s new energy plan is taking Ohio in the wrong direction when it comes to emerging energy sources and innovations. That plan would likely bail out two nuclear power plants through new charges on electric bills.

The latest proposal would create a new 85 cent fee on monthly electric bills, with most of the money going to nuclear. It also subsidizes coal plants through a $1.50 fee.

To offset the cost to ratepayers, Republican lawmakers want to weaken renewable energy requirements and get rid of energy efficiency programs.

Dan Sawmiller with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the plan boils down to four major steps.

“It’s a nuclear bailout, a coal bailout, a reduction in incentives for new renewable energy projects that’s driving new economic development in the state, and a complete elimination ofour energy efficiency program in the state which is driving new economic activity in the state of Ohio," he said. "So it certainly seems to be a step backwards.”

The proposal also subsidizes a pair OVEC coal plants through a charge of no more than $1.50 a month for a residential ratepayer. OVEC has two coal plants Kyger Creek in Gallia County and Clifty Creek in Madison, Indiana. The plants were built in the 1950s.

“To take money away from incentives to build new industry, new renewable energy and to pursue energy efficiency in this state and divert it to coal plants that are already greater than 60-years-old just seems to be a real step backwards for this state,” Sawmiller said.

The bill could receive a full Senate vote later this week.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.