Anyone remember the great power failure of 2003 that quickly took out the northeastern electric grid? Yeah that started in Ohio. It left roughly 50 million U.S. residents without power—sometimes for days.
Overall, the Buckeye state’s seen some rough times as of late. The heavily industrial state suffered greatly as traditional industries dried and went overseas, leaving streets, towns and even cities almost as empty and forlorn as those in Michigan. However, one bright spot in the southernmost state bordering a Great Lake is growth in renewable industry manufacturing.
The state also has the potential to add more renewables into its energy mix. On average the state receives about 4.3 kilowatt hours of sunlight per square meter, which is enough to justify solar. And the northwestern part of the state gets enough wind to justify that renewable resource there.
To help Ohio’s citizens adopt renewable energy locally, the state has put into place numerous incentive programs to make solar power and other forms of renewables less expensive. Among them is a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) under which 25 percent of the electricity sold in the state must come from renewable sources by 2025. Of that, half must come from sources within the state. However, that also includes “clean coal technologies” and third-generation nuclear plants and energy efficiency efforts. Ohio does offer a net-metering program.
Because of Ohio’s location on Lake Erie, and proximity to other industrial-economy states like Michigan and Illinois, Ohio can easily transport materials in and out more so than most inland states in the United States. Given that, and its location in the Midwest, Ohio has had important land and water resources to offer industry. Wind and solar companies have taken advantage of the state’s industrial capabilities by building plants in the state.
And Ohio’s got a dirty little secret, too. Nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Two nuclear plants by Lake Erie supply the majority of the rest of Ohio’s electricity.
Ohio’s industrial sector accounts for more than one-third of Ohio's electricity consumption, more than the quarter of electric consumption that comes from the state’s residents. Since nearly 20 percent of homes in the state use electricity to heat their homes, the state’s overall energy usages are higher than in most other states.