News and Analysis
Steve Nalley, a top official with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), recently briefed the National Conference of State Legislatures on the country’s natural gas outlook. The EIA projects the U.S. will export more energy than it imports in 2020 due in part to continued drilling for shale natural gas, particularly in the east. The growth in natural gas production — and the lower prices that result — will continue to provide competitive incentives for increased electrical power generation. Natural gas used for electric generation overtook coal in 2016. See Nalley’s PowerPoint presentation.10/1/2019
This week, the Energy News Network and the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism launched a series of reports on how Ohio utilities continue to reap windfalls from the public. This despite the promise of free-market competition made by policymakers more than a decade ago. The reporters chronicle increased distribution and transmission costs paid by customers to monopoly distribution utility companies — concluding that “utility-friendly lawmakers and regulators have shielded Ohio utility power plant affiliates from competition at customers’ expense.” Read the story.
The OMA has supported legislation to curtail the abuses, while the OMA Energy Group routinely engages in cases at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to protect the manufacturing sector. If you’re not already engaged, now is the time. Contact OMA staff to learn how. 9/25/2019
Ohio is among the nation’s top states for careers in energy efficiency, according to a new report called “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America.” Published by E4TheFuture and the non-partisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), the study ranks Ohio as ninth best, with 81,676 full-time energy efficiency jobs — excluding jobs in retail, vehicle efficiency-related work, and jobs tied to efficient manufacturing processes.
It’s estimated that more than 10,200 energy-efficiency businesses operate in Ohio, with a majority involved in manufacturing or construction. The report summary notes that nationwide, energy efficiency is the energy sector’s fastest-growing jobs producer, accounting for roughly half of the industry’s new jobs (151,700) last year. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs in energy efficiency stood at more than 321,000 — a 10% jump from 2017. 9/23/2019
Signatures continue to be collected to place a referendum on Ohio’s ballot to overturn House Bill 6 — the recently enacted law that forces Ohio customers to subsidize nuclear and other power plants. As we reported earlier this month, pro-HB 6 defenders are utilizing “blockers” to deter voters from signing the referendum petition.
This week, the pro-HB 6 defenders began circulating their own non-binding petition forms to further confuse voters. Also, they have begun airing yet another TV and radio advertisement that inaccurately portrays the Chinese government as the opponent to HB 6 — similar to the first ad.
The Energy News Network this week published a story on who is behind the Chinese conspiracy ads and the attempt to stop Ohio’s HB 6 referendum. 9/26/2019
At their quarterly board meeting this week, OMA leaders reacted to the misleading commercials being aired by a group seeking to block a referendum that could overturn House Bill 6 — the anti-market, nuclear power subsidy law. OMA members are reminded that if they support the referendum campaign to repeal HB 6, they can contribute to the Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts campaign and host a signature gathering at their facilities. Manufacturers can ask OMA staff how to arrange for signatures to be collected at your plant or office to foster the referendum and protect Ohio’s competitive power markets. 9/18/2019
Nuclear power bailouts. Utility riders. Changes in the wholesale electricity and natural gas markets. There’s a lot happening in Ohio’s energy world — and all of it affects manufacturers. Stay informed by reading the latest post in the OMA’s Energy Guide. 9/17/2019
As if the citizen-initiated repeal of Ohio’s nuclear power bailout (House Bill 6) wasn’t supercharged enough — thanks to millions of dollars spent on misleading advertising — the group defending the law went a step further this week. The beneficiaries of the HB 6 subsidies have hired field agents to “educate” voters who are being asked to sign petitions. Referendum supporters must gather 265,774 signatures from registered Ohio voters by Oct. 21 to place the question of HB 6 repeal on the November 2020 ballot.
This week, an altercation ensued in which a petition circulator appears to have been assaulted by a pro-HB 6 agent. Soon after, anti-HB 6 Ohio Citizen Action issued a cease and desist letter to pro-HB 6 Ohioans for Energy Security, with the former saying they would not be intimidated by “threats.”
Numerous OMA members have contacted staff inquiring how to support the referendum effort. Manufacturers can take action by contributing to the campaign. Also, manufacturers who are willing to allow signatures to be collected at the workplace may contact staff to invite a circulator. 9/12/2019
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reporting that oil production from Ohio’s horizontal shale wells jumped 29.54% during the second quarter of 2019, compared to a year ago. Natural gas production was up 10.81%. The wells produced 5,813,755 barrels of oil and 614,218,362 Mcf (614 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to the ODNR report.
At last check, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has Ohio ranked as the nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas and the 12th largest producer of crude oil. 9/3/2019
Owners of nuclear power plants who are eager to get customers to subsidize their business filed suit with the Supreme Court of Ohio on Wednesday in an attempt to block a proposed referendum to repeal House Bill 6. The owners assert that a referendum should not be allowed to proceed because HB 6 is a “tax” — and legislation creating taxes are not subject to referendum under the Ohio Constitution.
Gene Pierce, spokesman for the pro-repeal Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, responded by saying that “this frivolous lawsuit is another desperate attempt by FES (FirstEnergy Solutions) to protect their ill-gotten, billion-dollar bailout. In addition to having no legal basis, their own proponents in the legislature repeatedly stated that HB 6 was not a tax increase in their efforts to secure enough votes for passage of the bill.”
Meanwhile, bailout proponents continue to run misleading TV and radio commercials aimed at dissuading Ohioans from signing the referendum petition. The ads have attracted national attention, such as this analysis from a Bloomberg columnist. This week, referendum opponents also dropped direct mail. 9/5/2019
A new TV and radio ad is running statewide in hopes of heading off a referendum that would ask Ohio voters if they want to overturn House Bill 6 — the nuclear power bailout. In the ad, an ominous voice states that the Chinese government is mounting a secret takeover of Ohio’s energy grid and “coming for our energy jobs.” This week, several Ohio newspapers analyzed the ad. Here is what they said:
* A fact check by the Cincinnati Enquirer says the ad’s connection between China and the referendum to overturn HB 6 “is weak.”
* The Columbus Dispatch said the group behind the commercial offered “no evidence that such a plot exists.”
* An editorial by The Plain Dealer says it’s “the sleaziest scare ad in recent memory in Ohio.”
These analyses are further proof that HB 6 has ushered into Ohio some strange times with new, costly policy that threatens Ohio’s deregulated electricity markets. 8/28/2019