Ohio Senate lawmakers advanced an important fix to wind-turbine setback policy in the state’s proposed biennial budget. The state’s setback policy, among the most restrictive in the nation, has effectively stopped new wind-power development – and the jobs that come along with it – since passing in 2014.
“The Ohio Senate took a stand for the state’s future by aiming to reform burdensome regulation and unleash the job-creating economic potential of Ohio’s wind energy resources,” said Andrew Gohn, Eastern Region Policy Director for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “We applaud the Senate’s leadership on this issue and urge the House to support the setback fix as well.”
Wind-power developers, eager to invest in Ohio, also expressed support for the Senate’s action on setbacks.
“I applaud the Ohio Senate for moving forward a common sense fix to siting regulations which have stymied investment in new wind-energy projects since 2014,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO, EDP Renewables North America. “Since 2011, EDP Renewables has constructed two wind farms in Paulding County Ohio, and invested approximately $400 million. The Senate’s proposal to fix wind-turbine siting rules will allow wind-energy developers to make billions of dollars of investment in Ohio’s rural communities.”
With the wind-turbine setback regulations currently in place, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind-power investment to its neighbors. Restoring Ohio’s setback standard to what is was pre-2014 would result in over $4.2 billion in local economic benefits, according to a study published in May by AWEA and the Wind Energy Foundation’s “A Renewable America” campaign.
Within Ohio’s business community, there is strong and growing support for less restrictive setback rules. Last week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s nearly 8,000 members sent a letter to Senator Hite, supporting “a more reasonable wind setback policy than Ohio law currently allows.”
Fortune 500 businesses like Amazon Web Services have also called for setback reform because they seek access to low-cost, clean energy from wind and other sources. The Senate’s setback amendment would make Ohio more attractive for future manufacturing facilities and data centers, like Amazon’s, in addition to wind power developers.
Wind power has already generated nearly 3,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in wind-project investment in Ohio. Nationally, wind recently became the largest source of renewable energy capacity and supports over 100,000 American jobs, including 25,000 manufacturing jobs at more than 500 factories in 41 states.
Filed Under: News, Policy