"We think we have an energy policy now," observes Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy on the rules for the state's alternative energy portfolio standard in Senate Bill 221. "It is renewables and efficiency that will dominate the industry during the next 25 to 30 years."
"As a result of a 45% decline in demand (from industrial users)," OPAE continues, "power capacity prices in the regional wholesale markets that service Ohio have declined from around $100/kW to $16/kW. No one will build new power plants other than to meet renewable mandates when that is the market price. Efficiency is cheaper than generating kilowatts."
The rules call for at least twenty-five percent of electricity for retail sale from all electric utilities to come from alternative energy resources (.5% by the end of 2010).
One way Ohio's utilities could meet their energy efficiency mandate to reduce energy demand is smart grid technology (like they're doing out West). In five states in the Pacific Northwest GridWise Demonstration Project, IBM and U.S. Department of Energy investigated how customers responded to real-time information and with smart appliances.
"If the U.S. grid alone were just five percent more efficient," Jane Snowdon of IBM tells Metropolis Magazine, "it would be like permanently eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars."