Ohio's Green Energy Requirements
As part of the state's measures to be more environmentally friendly, a series of measures were put in place that requires 12.5% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2027. Within this figure, at least 0.5% of this needs to come from solar power sources. But how does this change affect homeowner's electricity bills and how do suppliers explain these costs?
How energy is created
Currently, there are several different ways that the state creates electricity with the growing emphasis being on moving away from fossil fuel based means and moving towards renewable sources. Examples of types of renewable energy being generated currently includes:
- Hydropower – this is where flowing water spins a turbine connected to a generator and can work in rivers or falling water such as waterfalls. Dams are also used to accumulate the water and pair with these turbines. Currently, around 2.3% of electricity created in Ohio comes from this source
- Wind – turbines harness the wind to create power
- Solar – power is collected using photovoltaic cells from the sun
- Geothermal – power comes from the heat under the earth when water is transformed into steam and collected by steam turbine plants
- Biomass – this includes wood and wood waste, landfill gas, biogas from food processing waste, sewage sludge and animal waste as well as potential ‘energy crops'
In May 2014, the General Assembly passed a bill, Senate Bill 310, which required that PUCO adopt rules to disclose the cost of renewable energy efficiency on the cost of electricity for homeowners and businesses. This meant that all companies offering residential electric service OH as well as those supplying businesses had to show on their bills exactly what costs were being paid by the customer for these matters.
So from December 2015, all electric utilities and retail electric companies were forced to add new elements to the information they supply to customers in order to comply with this. This information was in addition to the OH electric rates information and customer details that they were already required to provide.
What information is required?
From the date, there will be three new lines on every customer's bill that supplies them with the information relating to the renewable energy production. These lines will advise:
- Average cost of compliance with the renewable energy rules
- Energy efficiency
- Peak demand reduction requirements
Customers will have seen these from the first time in their January bills but should also be aware that these aren't new or additional charges – previously, these charges were simply wrapped into the bill with all the other charges. So, this means that the changes didn't cost consumers any more money, simply provided them with more information than before.
How are the figures calculated?
The figures are provided in dollars and are an average of the Ohio EDU's cost of renewable resources. The actual calculation is done by PUCO, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio who is also the people who handle certification of approved suppliers for power across the state and any complaints.
The figure is worked out by the customer's monthly kWh usage as well as the statutory requirements that are currently in place. The energy efficiency savings and the peak demand reduction requirements are calculated by multiplying the customer's usage by each applicable rider.