Ohio governor signs coal and nuclear bailout at expense of renewable energy

(Inside Climate News, 26 Jul 2019) Opponents fear the law will send the growing wind and solar industry to neighboring states while Ohio homeowners are stuck boosting old, uneconomical power plants.

Updated July 26 with FirstEnergy Solutions announcing that, with the state bailout for its nuclear plants, the utility will now have funding to keep an aging coal plant also running.

In a year when several states have taken big steps to embrace a future that runs on renewable energy, Ohio is taking a leap in the opposite direction.

The Ohio legislature passed a measure Tuesday that cuts renewable energy and energy efficiency programs while adding subsidies for nuclear and coal-fired power plants—a policy cocktail that opponents say is backward-looking and harmful to the economy, consumers and the environment.

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed the bill into law within hours.

Opponents were unable to match the political power of FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of the state's two nuclear plants, and its allies.

While much of the debate was about nuclear power, the law may end up functioning as more of a coal bailout.

On Friday, FirstEnergy Solutions said it had decided to cancel plans to close the W.H. Sammis coal-fired power plant, an eastern Ohio plant that has been described as a "super-polluter." The plant, previously scheduled to shut down in 2022, is not covered by the bailout law, but the windfall from the bailout money is improving the company's finances enough to make moves unrelated to the nuclear plants.

External link

Inside Climate News, 26 Jul 2019: Ohio governor signs coal and nuclear bailout at expense of renewable energy