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Issue Position: Energy

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Energy policy is a key issue not only for Ohio, but on the national and global scene as well. A sound energy policy involves a comprehensive utilization of all of Ohio's diverse energy resources, developing domestic energy sources in a clean and safe manner, and leveraging Ohio's manufacturing base to become a leader in green technology.

I was proud to support one of the country's most progressive energy standards that will help reduce energy use in Ohio, lower energy costs, and help create green jobs (SB 221). This bill requires electric utilities to obtain 12.5% of their energy from renewable energy resources by 2025 and sets a goal of obtaining an additional 12.5% of Ohio's electricity from advanced energy resources by 2025. Additionally, the bill set ambitious energy efficiency standards for electric distribution utilities.

However, a comprehensive energy policy must take into account all potential forms of energy -- not only traditional renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric -- but advanced energy such as nuclear and clean coal technology. We must not become dependent on any one source of energy, but diversify our energy resources. Continued instability in the Middle East raises the importance of energy independence for Ohio citizens and businesses. To this end, we need to develop Ohio's domestic energy resources through energy exploration. Our energy plan should encompass the use of fossil fuel reserves under Lake Erie and on Ohio's public lands in a manner that minimizes our footprint on the environment.

One of Ohio's greatest natural resources is its abundance of coal. Ohio currently ranks 7th in the nation in coal reserves with 23.7 billion short tons. Over 87 percent of Ohio's electricity comes from coal, and coal provides over half of the nation's electric needs.[1] A responsible energy policy should leverage Ohio's coal resources in a safe and clean manner. I believe in developing clean coal technologies that reduce the harmful air emissions associated with burning high sulfur coal.

The other side to a sound energy policy is energy efficiency. Ohio should develop grant and loan programs for small businesses, manufacturers, and citizens to equip their facilities and homes with energy-efficient systems and appliances. We should also focus on providing technical assistance and training for businesses that want to become more energy efficient, but lack the in-house expertise on how to do so. Integrating energy efficient technologies into existing structures can help delay the immediate need for investments in new infrastructure.

Finally, a sound energy policy goes hand-in-hand with helping to boost Ohio's economy. One of Ohio's great strengths is its manufacturing base. I believe Ohio's manufacturers, higher education institutions, and the state should partner on programs to enhance training opportunities for Ohio workers that equip them for 21st century jobs. Ohio should promote the commercialization of emerging energy technologies. A strong energy policy should focus on restoring Ohio's leadership as a manufacturing state by making products like solar panels, wind turbine parts, and fuel cells.

An energy policy that comprehends all of these features will ensure stable energy prices for Ohio consumers, complement Ohio's economic development strategy, and secure Ohio's leadership in utilization of domestic energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner.

[1] Source: Ohio Coal Association


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