Economic Impacts, Policy, and the Future of Renewable Energy in Ohio

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What is the future of renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, in Ohio?  Amidst the range of arguments and policy debates ever in front of the state’s legislature and policy making bodies, what strategies are forthcoming, and how does that impact the energy generation mix?

A first point of interest is the fact that Ohio uses the 7th highest amount of electricity in the country, so there is a great deal of consumption in the state that needs to be met with various generation assets.  There has been a gradual shift in the generation portfolio from fossil fuel generation such as coal-fired power plants, to a lot more natural gas facilities with the hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking) boom in the eastern part of the state, but also large-scale wind and solar facilities starting to develop.  Despite this shift, Ohio is definitely still a coal state, particularly considering the legacy of this industry in the Appalachian region.  In 2015, Ohio had a total generating capacity of over 28,000 megawatts (MW), which consisted of about 53% from coal, 37% from oil & gas, 1.6% from wind, and 0.4% from solar (with the remaining 8% coming from other sources, such as nuclear, biomass, and hydro).

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