by Governor John Kasich
Ohio’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors are highly productive and among our state’s largest employers. They’re also big energy users and part of the reason why Ohio ranks seventh nationally in energy generation.
With energy being so important to major Ohio job creators, it’s critical that we do everything possible to make it inexpensive, plentiful and reliable.
Unfortunately, Ohio faces major headwinds on energy from Washington. The U.S. lacks the kind of comprehensive energy policy it takes to achieve energy independence and help job creators secure low prices and reliable supplies. Furthermore, coal — which supplies 86 percent of our electricity — irritates the current president, and his administration’s EPA repeatedly threatens more red tape on Ohio’s growing shale-oil-and-gas industry.
This uncertainty from Washington isn’t sustainable for Ohio. If we want to see more Ohioans working again, we need to foster low costs and greater certainty in energy, and if we can’t get it with help from Washington, then Ohio must seek it ourselves.
Ao last year, my administration worked with Ohio State University and Battelle to convene the Governor’s 21st Century Energy & Economic Summit. Over two days, the summit brought together 50 panelists from business, government, academia and environmental groups and more than 1,000 attendees to discuss the latest, brightest thinking on energy. These conversations were the first step in helping Ohio’s policymakers develop a comprehensive energy policy to support job creation. That work continued over the winter and produced a comprehensive plan covering the full range of Ohio energy issues. I’m proud to say I’m signing that plan into law on Monday.
A major focus of Ohio’s new energy policy is oil-and-gas production in our state’s Utica shale formations. With new technologies making it possible to tap oil, natural gas and natural-gas liquids in shale rock deep beneath the surface, the potential exists to permanently lift the economy of eastern Ohio and turn Ohio into a major oil-and-gas producer. It’s only smart to make sure that as this new industry comes on the scene, strong policies are in place that can help ensure its safety and success. Ohio’s energy policy does that by modernizing our regulatory structure to protect the public, the environment and the industry’s workers and to facilitate the industry’s growth.
Ohio’s new energy policy also promotes clean-energy generation. While Ohio’s manufacturers are certainly big energy users, they’re also potential sources of clean energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that as much as 2,000 megawatts of energy could be generated by capturing and reusing the waste heat in Ohio factories. That’s enough to power more than 1.4 million Ohio homes. To help encourage this, Ohio’s new energy policy adds waste heat to the list of clean-energy sources, along with solar and wind, that can earn special “renewable energy credits,” credits that manufacturers can then sell for extra income.
Other highlights of Ohio’s new energy policy include efforts to encourage the use of cars that run on natural gas, to improve state buildings’ energy efficiency, to get electricity to the places where it’s most needed to create jobs, to create programs that link Ohioans who need jobs with training for the new jobs in the oil-and-gas industry, and to make valuable investments in clean-coal research and technology.
I hope Washington will get its act together and implement the energy policy America needs. Until then, Ohio will seek its own solutions on energy and, perhaps, provide a model for other states, as well. Ohio needs jobs now, and innovative energy policies can set our state apart and help create the jobs-friendly climate we need to get our state back on track.