Earlier this week I wrote in the Washington Times about the introduction of a national Renewable Electricity Mandate bill by New Mexico Democrat Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback. About 30 states already have them in one form or another, which require public utilities to generate a minimum percentage of their power from alternative energy sources (wind, solar, burning food). The theme of my piece was public fatigue over government mandating they buy things (health insurance, compact fluorescent light bulbs, windmill power, etc.).
So I was pleasantly surprised to read Tim Carney's column in the Washington Examiner today, where he reported that GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich said he might seek to end Ohio's renewable portfolio standard:
...Kasich suggested to the Dayton Daily News this week that he would consider repealing one of (Gov. Ted) Strickland's signature accomplishments -- SB 221, which requires Ohio utilities to draw a portion of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar, with the mandate hitting 25 percent by 2025.
Kasich said of the bill, "It will drive up utility bills because we don't have [the renewable sources] ready and have to buy it somewhere else. I don't like that and you can't mandate invention."
Ohio’s electric needs rank alongside medium-size nations such as Iran – and for now 90 percent of those needs are met by burning coal mostly imported from other states....
Asked whether he’d seek to roll back the mandate as governor, Kasich said: “If I were to determine that it was unrealistic and would drive up prices.”
There is no way Ohio can go from 90 percent coal power to 25 percent renewable power without a dramatic increase in electricity costs. Renewables mandates are a de facto tax hike, and a hidden and regressive one at that, sneaked on to your monthly electric bill. Anyone who advocates for them that has also taken a "no new taxes" pledge is violating their promise. And no one has proven they will have any effect on the climate.
Maybe if Kasich wins and he has the guts to fight for a repeal, it can start a national trend.