Legislators propose HB 6 to save from bankruptcy First Energy Solutions, the owner of two high risk inefficient nuclear power plants on Lake Erie. These plants are obsolete and risk accidents like those that occurred at Chernobyl and at Three-mile Island. HB 6 puts a tax on all consumers of electricity in Ohio to save these nuclear plants. The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and most environmental groups oppose HB 6. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is lukewarm on the proposal.
The argument for bailing out nuclear energy in HB 6 is to reduce carbon contamination of the atmosphere. Market forces are doing that. Fossil fuel interests support HB 6 because it favors them. It causes more carbon contamination than the current law.
The abundance of natural gas from shale is now being used to generate electricity more economically and with less carbon pollution than other fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are now cost competitive. These clean energy sources are creating Ohio jobs. What Ohio needs, are laws to remove restrictions on building wind farms, and a fair rate to be paid to owners of wind and solar generator when they put electricity on the grid, not HB 6.
Albert A. Gabel, Professor Emeritus,
The Ohio State University