Ohio Freezes Standards for Renewable Energy in Landmark Vote

May 28, 2014 5:32 pm ET

(Updates with Kasich’s promise to sign bill in third paragraph.)

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Ohio General Assembly approved a bill to freeze standards for electricity efficiency and generation from renewable sources, marking the sharpest break from a three-decade campaign by 29 U.S. states.

The measure would delay for two years requirements enacted in 2008 that power companies reduce consumption by 22 percent and produce a quarter of electricity from renewable and alternative sources by 2025. Officials would study the rules during that period.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled House 53-38 today, mostly along party lines. The Senate later concurred and sent the bill to Governor John Kasich. The Republican will sign the compromise bill, spokesman Rob Nichols said. Supporters said a review of the standards is needed to avoid escalating costs.

“At the end of the day, we don’t think it’s good policy,” Representative Peter Stautberg, a Cincinnati-area Republican and chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee, said during debate today. ‘The free market works.’’

Opponents, including clergy, environmental groups and civil-rights advocates, said it will stymie investment in renewable and efficiency projects to benefit utilities.

“It puts in jeopardy hundreds of millions of investment dollars, tens of thousands of jobs and will negatively impact the economy for years to come,” Ted Ford of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, a business group that opposes the move, said in a statement.