When he’s not running for president, Ohio Governor John Kasich is still busy managing the affairs of his state. One of his many duties came to light this week when Kasich came out once again in favor of “unfreezing” the state’s green energy mandates and even pushing for steeper demands on energy consumers. Much of this effort is being driven under the auspices of the curiously named “Ohio Conservative Energy Forum.” (OCEF) At a quick glance, it’s rather difficult to see what is “conservative” about either the group or the policies being pushed forward by the governor. (Fox News)
Ohio lawmakers looking to extend a freeze on state “green energy” mandates will have to find a way past Gov. John Kasich.
Kasich immediately shot down as “unacceptable” a legislative study committee’s Wednesday recommendation the state extend its current two-year mandate freeze indefinitely.
When Kasich signed Senate Bill 310 last year, he agreed to pause the phase-in of energy efficiency and alternative electricity generation mandates adopted in 2008 — and to create the Energy Mandates Study Committee, whose guidance he seems set on ignoring…
And the same day the Energy Mandates Study Committee published its recommendations, a new coalition of Kasich backers calling itself Ohio Conservative Energy Forum popped up to promote steeper mandates.
The number of troubling things going on in Ohio related to this issue is alarming. First of all, Kasich himself established the commission charged with examining the effects of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) on consumers and the state economy. They came back with the expected results, showing that the mandates were expensive and likely unsustainable, but Kasich is ignoring them. He seems to be relying more on the approach favored by this Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, but who are they? While it’s not being mentioned in the local media, the head of the group – I’m sure just coincidentally – is the same guy that Kasich recently appointed as head of his presidential campaign. Other surrogates are prominent figures in OCEF as well.
Mike Hartley, who was named Ohio director of Kasich’s presidential campaign less than a month before the launch of Ohio CEF, is the group’s executive director.
Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis — a Kasich appointee to the state medical board — is a member of Ohio CEF’s leadership council. So is retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe, formerly Kasich’s appointed director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
Why are the green energy warriors (apparently including Kasich) having to fight so hard? And why did the commission find the mandates to be a bad idea in need of a “freeze” this year? The answer is found in this report from Forbes which was published last year. It shows that the RPS was costing Ohio residents and businesses a ton of money while delivering very little in return.
In Ohio, 25 percent of all electricity sold in the state must come from alternative energy sources by 2025; half of that amount must come from sources identified as renewable. These policies sound nice, which is why so many states rushed to pass RPSs over the last 15 years. In the abstract, people like wind, solar, and renewable energy. It is only after legislators and consumers began appreciating the full costs and consequences of RPSs that they look less appealing.
A study by the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce revealed that, “in 2010, the average price of residential electricity in RPS states was 31.9 percent higher than it was in non-RPS states. Commercial electricity rates were 27.4 percent higher, and industrial rates were 30.7 percent higher.” Indeed, “in the ten-year period between 2001 and 2010—the period during which most of the states enacted their RPS mandates—residential and commercial electricity prices in RPS states increased at faster rates than those in non-RPS states.”
This same scheme, supported by Kasich, additionally demands that Ohio reduce the state’s electricity consumption 22 percent by 2025. It’s termed an “efficiency mandate” which is designed to encourage the discovery of more energy efficient designs.
Senate President Faber said, “We’ve spent $1.1 billion since 2009 on energy efficiency… I’m not quite sure what we’ve gotten out of it.”
This is the conservative platform that John Kasich is bringing to Ohio? And is that what we can expect for the entire nation if he’s elected president?