Since 2007, Ohio has seen over a 19,000% increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun and an 8,510% increase in wind-power production, according to a new report released by Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center.
The report also highlights advances in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles that will help catalyze the clean energy revolution in Ohio. At the same time, Ohio ranked sixth for increases in the percentage of energy savings compared to electricity sales.
“Every day, we see more evidence that an economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Zachary Fields from Environment Ohio Research and Policy Center. “The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give Ohioans the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”
The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles. Ohio ranked 25th for wind and 21st for solar and is one of the top states for increase in energy storage capacity since 2007.
“In order to ensure a healthy future for all, we must continue to lead by transitioning Ohio quickly to a future powered by renewable energy,” said Doug Hammerle, Director of Energy Systems at Miami University. “Miami University is changing how we approach heating and cooling buildings and geothermal is at the forefront of this change here. Significant sustainability goals are achieved with regards to environmental and economic benefits when implemented on a college campus like this one.”
The report describes the factors that led to rapid growth in each category since 2007, including policies, improved technologies and lower costs, all of which suggest the potential for continued rapid growth in the years to come. Much of the progress in Ohio is due to its Alternative Energy Standard, which requires that clean, renewable energy sources make up 12.5% the electricity sold by Ohio utilities.
Last year, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that would freeze that standard, but fortunately this was vetoed by Governor Kasich.
“Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper seemingly every day,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy.”
“We’ve built a good foundation,” said Dr. Jonathan Levy, Director of the Miami University Institute for the environment and Sustainability. “We need leaders who recognize the environmental and economic benefits of clean energy for Ohio and act on it. As the late, great architect and environmental activist, R. Buckminster Fuller, once said, ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’”
This report also comes as a growing number of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions consider commitments to 100% renewable energy. Currently 37 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy, including both Cleveland and Columbus, who intend to do so by 2035. Nearly 100 major companies have made a 100% renewable commitment, including Apple, Walmart, and LEGO. Hawaii is committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2045. California and Massachusetts are currently considering legislation. And, bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress.
“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted, and they are running out,” said David Treleaven, Environmental Specialist for the City of Oxford, Ohio. “We need to seize the moment, build on recent progress and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy to protect our own well being and the well being of everything on this earth.”
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