Ohio House Bill 197 is designed to encourage the development of community solar facilities throughout our state.
Currently, most electricity in Ohio is generated by burning coal or methane. Even today, fossil fuels are extracted from the ground through extreme procedures like strip mining and fracking, putting our communities at risk by contaminating the soil, poisoning the water, and spewing particulate matter and toxins into the air. In the past few years, I’ve hiked hundreds of miles through Ohio’s small towns and natural spaces, witnessing the destruction caused by hydraulic fracturing of our shale bedrock, seeing first hand the devastation left by strip mining, and hearing from Ohio residents about the urgent need for cleaner energy generation.
Ohio needs to move away from outdated, destructive fossil fuel extraction, and develop more sustainable and profitable sources of electricity. House Bill 197 would move us in this direction.
Industrial practices in Ohio have left behind abandoned, distressed stretches of land that cannot be redeveloped due to the presence of hazardous substances. These “brownfields” are often the remains of landfills, solid waste facilities, coal mines, industry, or hazardous material storage, and are often located near marginalized communities. House Bill 197 requires that at least 500 MW of allotted energy from community solar facilities be constructed on distressed sites, and provides some funding for brownfield remediation, addressing in part the damage that has been done to these areas.
HB197 increases access to clean energy in Ohio, it adds momentum to the much needed grid modernization in our state, it creates safe, well-paid jobs in our communities, provides savings for consumers, and encourages the growth of Ohio-based solar panel manufacturing. HB197 would support the work of organizations like Cleveland Solar Cooperative as it invests in new arrays, provides benefits to member-owners, and keeps dollars in Ohio’s economy.
There are good reasons that this proposed legislation has earned bipartisan support in Columbus and across the state. Everyone benefits from the development of community solar facilities.
There have been 3 Hearings to date for this bill with 70 proponent testimonies submitted. Contact information for Public Utilities Committee Chair, Dick Stein (R), can be found here. Contact information for Public Utilities Committee Vice-Chair, Monica Robb Blasdel (R) is here. Ranking Committee member, Casey Weinstein (D) can be contacted here. Find your own Ohio House Representative here.
Please consider making your voice heard by contacting the Ohio Public Utilities Committee and your elected official in support of HB 197.