Select Economic and Energy Data Value State Rank
Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita $33,568 19th lowest
Unemployment 10.9% 11th highest
Gasoline Price, per gallon $2.68 6th lowest
Electricity Price, per kWh 8.97¢ 22nd highest

Ohio has below average electricity prices. Over 80 percent of Ohio’s electricity comes from coal. Most of the state’s non-coal electricity is generated from the state’s two nuclear power plants. Natural gas and petroleum make minimal contributions to Ohio’s electricity supply, as do hydro and biomass.

Although Ohio has some coal reserves in the Appalachian Basin, which crosses the eastern part of the state, these typically provide only a third of the coal used for Ohio’s electricity generation. The rest of the state’s coal is imported from West Virginia, Wyoming, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Ohio is the fourth-largest consumer of coal in the country.

Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy

Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.

Below are some facts about Ohio’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy. Ohio has thus far avoided many of the costly energy policies other states are implementing.

  • Ohio does not cap greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ohio is an observer of the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, a regional agreement among six American governors and one Canadian premier to target greenhouse gas reductions. The central component of this agreement is the eventual enactment of a cap-and-trade scheme, perhaps supported by low-carbon fuel standards and other supplemental policies. As an observer of the Accord, Ohio would not be bound to agreements made by Accord members.
  • Ohio requires utilities to sell a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. The state’s renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to provide 25 percent of their retail electricity supply from alternate energy sources by 2025. Alternative energy resources include all renewable and advanced energy resources. Technology specifications include a minimum of 12.5 percent renewables by 2024, and 0.5 percent solar by 2024.[i]
  • Ohio does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels. However, the state requires the use of reformulated gasoline in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.[ii]
  • Ohio does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include California’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
  • Ohio requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. Residential buildings must meet the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or either of two state-based codes.[iii] Commercial buildings must meet the 2006 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2004.[iv] The IECC (developed by the International Code Council) and ASHRAE 90.1 (developed by the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) are model codes that mandate certain energy efficiency standards. The Ohio School Facilities Commission approved a resolution in 2007 that requires all new schools to meet the silver LEED for Schools standard.[v] The silver LEED standard is one level of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Senate Bill 221, enacted in 2008, also requires the adoption of requirements for new schools to accommodate the eventual installation of roof-top, solar photovoltaic equipment. House Bill 251, enacted in 2007, requires institutions of higher education to impose minimum efficiency standards for new buildings and leased buildings larger than 20,000 square feet.[vi]
    • The Ohio School Facilities Commission requires all new school construction, which is not yet in the design state, to meet the LEED silver standard, with the non-binding goal of meeting the LEED gold standard. (LEED silver and gold are certifications from U.S. Green building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building rating system).[vii]
  • Ohio does not impose state-based appliance efficiency standards.
  • Ohio does not allow electric utilities to “decouple” revenues from the sale of electricity, but does allow natural gas utilities to decouple. Some states decouple revenue from actual sales of electricity or natural gas, allowing utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.

Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_ state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity,  (March 15, 2010), http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009, http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/generation_state_mon.xls.

[i] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States, http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/lbnl-154e.pdf.

[ii] Energy Information Administration, Ohio, Apr. 8, 2010, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=OH.

[iii] Building Codes Assistance Project, Code Status: Ohio, http://bcap-energy.org/node/88.

[iv] Id.

[v] Ohio School Facilities Commission, Green Schools, http://www.osfc.state.oh.us/Library/GreenSchools/tabid/137/Default.aspx.

[vi] H.B. 251 (Ohio 2007), http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=126_HB_251.

[vii] Ohio School Facilities Commission, Green Schools, http://www.osfc.state.oh.us/Library/GreenSchools/tabid/137/Default.aspx.

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