Energy efficiency will make Ohio stronger

- September 10th, 2013
   

Despite their enormous contribution to global warming, power plants around the country do not face any federal limits on carbon dioxide pollution. To protect our health, our safety and our environment from the worst impacts of global warming, the United States should clean up the dirtiest power plants. States, like Ohio, have a role to play too.

 

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This statement was delivered at a press conference announcing the release of a report by Environment Ohio, “America’s Dirtiest Power Plants: Their Oversized Contribution to Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.” 

Ohio’s electric power sector produces nearly half of the state’s carbon emissions, well above the national average. Ohio’s electric power industry is the second largest polluter of carbon emissions in the nation, and the largest contributor of sulfur dioxide. 

Inefficiency causes these high emission levels. Nearly 70 percent of all energy used by Ohio’s electric power industry is lost during generation and transmission – for every three lumps of coal we put in, we only get one out. This waste of scarce resources cannot be justified – it’s a huge drain on our economy that squanders about $20 billion worth of energy each year, the equivalent of nearly 5 percent of the state’s economy. The end result is that electric customers pay for the wasteful practices of FirstEnergy and other electric utilities.

We can use our natural resources more wisely. This means investing in combined heat and power technology, relying more on renewable energy, and making our homes and business more efficient and our manufacturing sector leaner and greener. By taking this high-road approach, we can reduce emissions, save money, become more globally competitive, and create good jobs in the process.

Every one million dollars we invest in combined heat and power technology creates four jobs. 

Every one million dollars we spend to retrofit homes and businesses creates an estimated 17 jobs.  

To achieve this win-win: 

  • Ohio needs to preserve and enhance its energy efficiency law, which requires electric utilities to upgrade the grid and invest in efficiency. Despite FirstEnergy’s constant attacks on the law, it is in Ohio’s economic interests – and particularly in the interest of consumers – to stay on this more sustainable energy path. Ohio’s clean energy laws will help bring our electric power sector into the 21st century, use fossil fuels wisely, and diversify our energy portfolio so Ohioans will be less dependent on volatile fossil fuel prices.
  • Congress should pass the Shaheen-Portman bill, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013, designed to increase use of energy efficiency technologies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and create jobs.
  • Ohio, the federal government and the state’s investor-owned utilities should increase investments in low-income weatherization programs. People with fewer means tend to live in the most energy-inefficient properties; as a result, they rely on public energy subsidies when they rack up huge utility bills they can’t afford. Ohio’s energy subsidies add up to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars each year. Investments to weatherize the homes of low-income Ohioans can help end this cycle of energy poverty.    

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