Ohio and Indiana are dealing with the repercussions of their anti-energy-efficiency policies.
In 2014, Ohio Senate Bill 310 imposed a two-year freeze on the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. A study committee set up by SB 310 is currently reviewing the costs and benefit of energy efficiency and renewables standards.
In the meantime, the freeze is also chilling the growth of combined heat and power (CHP) in the state, reports Midwest Energy News.
CHP – the simultaneous or sequential use of power and heat from one fuel source – is championed by the Department of Energy. It’s a way to capture waste heat and use it to power applications and produce hot water.
In 2013, DOE launched seven new regional Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnerships across the country located in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington state.
In Ohio, CHP projects would count toward the state’s energy efficiency standard, but now the standard is frozen at 2014 levels and those who promote the technology say it has frozen new CHP projects, as well.
In Indiana, the state passed legislation in 2014 eliminating its energy efficiency mandates via the Energizing Indiana program. Now, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed a voluntary energy reduction plan into law, allowing utilities to set their own efficiency targets, reports the Associated Press.
Critics say leaving the utilities to promote energy efficiency is like leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. It’s not in utilities’ best interest to discourage the use of electricity.