Renewable Energy in Ohio [2024 Guide]

  • Feb 1, 2024

As we face the increasing impacts of climate change, renewable energy is gaining significant attention as a viable and essential solution to our growing power needs. States across the United States have started adopting these clean energy sources, and Ohio is no exception. With a diverse energy mix, Ohio stands at the forefront of this change, signaling a transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Ohio's drive towards renewable energy adoption is fueled by several factors, including the desire to reduce its carbon footprint, create more jobs, and ensure energy price stability. However, the journey to achieving a wholly renewable energy future is complex and multifaceted. This article aims to delve into Ohio's renewable energy landscape, looking at its benefits, energy mix, specific renewable sources, goals, costs, incentives, and how homeowners and renters in Ohio can support renewable energy.


Benefits of Renewable Energy in Ohio

Renewable energy brings about a myriad of benefits, both globally and specifically in Ohio. One of the most critical advantages is its potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping the state combat the escalating threat of climate change. By transitioning to clean, renewable energy, Ohio is taking vital steps to protect its diverse ecosystems, reduce air pollution, and ensure a healthier environment for future generations.

Besides the environmental advantages, renewable energy also plays a crucial role in stimulating Ohio's economy. The renewable energy industry is ripe with opportunities for job creation, from manufacturing and installation to maintenance and support services. According to a 2021 report by Clean Jobs Midwest, Ohio's clean energy sector employs more than 110,000 workers, emphasizing the vast employment potential of this burgeoning industry.

Moreover, by harnessing renewable energy sources, Ohio can achieve a greater degree of energy independence. Fossil fuel prices are notoriously volatile, fluctuating based on international relations, political instabilities, and market dynamics. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are inexhaustible, offering a buffer against such price volatility and helping Ohio stabilize its energy costs.

In a nutshell, the benefits of renewable energy in Ohio extend far beyond environmental protection. By investing in renewables, the state can not only combat climate change but also drive economic growth and ensure long-term energy price stability.


Ohio Energy Mix: How Much is Renewable?

When it comes to its energy mix, Ohio exhibits a combination of traditional and renewable energy sources. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of 2021, the state generated 45% of its electricity from natural gas, positioning it as Ohio's primary electricity source. Coal, a long-standing cornerstone of Ohio's energy mix, accounted for 36% of the state’s net energy generation.

However, it's the growth in the renewable sector that is becoming increasingly noticeable. Renewable energy, though representing a smaller proportion at roughly 3% of the state's energy mix, has shown steady growth over the years. This trend reflects Ohio's ongoing commitment to shifting towards more sustainable power generation.

Graphic comparing the typical energy mix in Ohio to the mix from CleanChoice Energy. The typical energy mix is 3% clean, while CleanChoice Energy offers 100% clean energy.

Solar Energy in Ohio

Despite its northern latitude, Ohio's potential for solar energy is surprisingly robust. With advances in solar technology, Ohio's geography and climate are no barrier to this radiant source of power. As of 2022, the state has installed enough solar power to more than 100,000 homes.

Solar energy has gained substantial traction due to various factors. The dropping cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, combined with advancements in energy storage solutions, has made solar power increasingly affordable and reliable. Furthermore, Ohio's policy framework, including net metering rules and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), has promoted solar energy uptake across the state.

Many Ohio businesses, residences, and even educational institutions have embraced solar power. For instance, Ohio State University's Columbus campus boasts a solar array that produces roughly 116,00 kilowatt-hours of energy every year.


Wind Energy in Ohio

Wind energy is another significant part of Ohio's renewable energy mix. With 1,100 MW of installed wind capacity as of 2022, Ohio ranks among the top 25 states for wind power. The state's geography, particularly in the northwest region, provides favorable conditions for harnessing wind energy.

While wind farms are most common in rural areas where there's plenty of space for turbines, some innovative urban projects demonstrate wind power's versatility. In Cleveland, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp (LEEDCo) has spearheaded an initiative to build the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America, showing wind energy's potential beyond land-based applications.


Ohio Renewable Energy Goals

Ohio's efforts in the renewable energy sector align with its broader sustainability objectives. The state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that by 2026, 8.5% of electricity sold by Ohio's electric distribution utilities and electric services companies should be generated from renewable energy sources. The RPS also includes a solar carve-out, which requires that 0.5% of the electricity be produced from solar energy.

However, these are minimum requirements, and many anticipate that Ohio will exceed these goals as the momentum of renewable energy adoption continues to build. As the cost of renewable technologies decreases, and as societal awareness and concern about climate change increase, the demand for renewable energy in Ohio is expected to grow.


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Sun rising over solar panels in a solar farm in Ohio

Average Electric Bill in Ohio

Electricity costs are a considerable concern for many Ohio residents, and renewable energy can play a critical role in mitigating these costs. As of February 2024, the average monthly electric bill in Ohio is around $187, or 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), according to EnergySage.


Ohio Renewable Energy Incentives

To encourage the adoption of renewable energy, Ohio offers a range of incentives. The state's Renewable Portfolio Standard not only sets goals for renewable energy production but also provides Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that incentivize solar installations. Under this system, for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy produced, the system owner earns one SREC that can be sold or traded, providing an additional income stream for solar energy producers.

Ohio also offers a statewide property tax exemption for renewable energy systems. This policy means that homeowners and businesses who install renewable energy systems aren't required to pay additional property taxes on the value added by these systems.

On the federal level, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers significant incentives for solar power. The ITC allows homeowners and businesses to deduct a portion of the cost of installing a solar system from their federal taxes, further reducing the overall cost of solar installation.


How CleanChoice Energy Can Help You Switch To Renewable Energy

CleanChoice Energy is a renewable energy supplier offering services to homeowners and renters in Ohio. By choosing CleanChoice Energy as their electricity supplier, customers of AEP Ohio, AES Ohio, Duke Energy Ohio, The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, and Toledo Edison can play a role in reducing the state's dependence on traditional, non-renewable energy sources. CleanChoice Energy is dedicated to making the switch to renewable energy easy and accessible for customers in Ohio.


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¹Typical default utility energy mix for customers in OH. Source: www.eia.gov, 2021 "Electric power industry generation by primary energy source." CleanChoice Energy has high standards for defining "clean" energy. While nuclear and hydro do not emit greenhouse gasses, generation from these sources have other negative environmental consequences.


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