Ohio

OHIO

The first humans to inhabit what today is known as Ohio were hunter-gatherers who lived at least 13 thousand years ago. More recently, but prior to European colonization, Native American tribes including the Erie, Kickapoo, and Shawnee tribes called the state’s 41 thousand square miles home. Today, over 11.5 million people live in Ohio much of which is covered by the Appalachian Plateau, which boasts terrain more rugged than the low-lying Great Lakes Plains of Ohio’s northern region.

Climate change is threatening Ohio’s water systems. Over 400 thousand people live in areas that are at an elevated risk of flooding. The number of heavy downpours per year has increased steadily since 1950, and rainfall during the four wettest days of the year has increased about 35% in the last 50 years. Warmer waters also affect the water quality of Lake Erie, which 12 million people—and many Ohioans—depend on for drinking water. Algae blooms more readily both in warm water and after severe storms when pollutants increase that run off from land into the lake. It got so bad in 2014, that an algae bloom in Lake Erie prompted the city of Toledo to ban drinking and cooking with tap water

Between 2012 and 2019, Ohio’s natural gas production increased by more than 30 times, almost entirely due to Utica Shale. Ohio continues to rely heavily on coal, and 2019 was the first year that natural gas generated more of Ohio’s in-state electricity than coal even as its natural gas production was down in 2020, which can likely be attributed to the economic crisis prompted by Covid-19 (8). Ohio is one of the top ten coal-consuming states and more than three times as much coal is consumed in Ohio than is produced. Renewable energy accounts for almost 3% of Ohio’s electricity generation, 60% of which is wind energy

In 2008, the Ohio General Assembly established the Renewable Portfolio Standard for Ohio-owned utilities and any competitive electrical seller in the state, mandating that these companies must source 12.5% of their portfolio from renewable resources. A 2019 bill signed by Governor DeWine decreased that standard to 8.5%, an extremely disappointing development for those advocating for a transition to a renewable economy. On the positive side, in September, 2020, Ohio has approved North America’s first freshwater offshore wind project — six wind-turbines to be installed in Lake Erie — clearing a major hurdle. With some details still to be worked out regarding mitigating harm to animals, the farm is scheduled to be operational by 2022

Ohio has not developed a state-wide climate adaptation plan. However, individual cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati all, principally in 2018, have developed their own various climate adaptation plans.

Climate Change: How it impacts Ohio farmers

CURRENT NEWS

Cleveland, Ohio: Promoting a local and just energy transition

By Peter Engelke, Joseph Webster, and Maia Sparkman 03/05/24
Cities and states are at the forefront of US efforts to achieve decarbonization goals, manufacture low-carbon technologies, and identify opportunities to align the energy transition with economic opportunities for businesses and workers. These subnational strategies…
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Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Corner: Where have all the flowers gone?

By Linda Eve Seth 03/02/24
Think about climate change. If you’ve been paying attention, you are likely picturing devastating floods, raging wildfires, melting glaciers, or parched earth. Few of us would think of the lovely, delicate wildflowers in nearby meadows…
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Cleveland summit spotlights growing corporate interest in clean energy projects

By Kathiann M. Kowalski 02/21/24
Companies have a smoother road for getting management to greenlight clean energy projects now than they did five years ago, thanks to corporate climate commitments, federal incentives and more.
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Ohio v. EPA Threatens the EPA’s Ability To Regulate Air Pollution Nationwide

By Jeevna Sheth and Others 02/13/24
On February 21, 2024, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for an emergency petition to postpone implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “good neighbor plan,” which is meant to protect downwind states from…
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Biden’s Climate Corps could bring jobs to Appalachian Ohio

By Nadia Ramlagan 02/12/24
A Biden administration program called the American Climate Corps aims to hire and train 20,000 people in conservation, climate and clean-energy jobs.
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Fighting for a Foothold in American Law, the Rights of Nature Movement Finds New Possibilities in a Change of Venue: the Arts

By Katie Surma 02/04/24
The ailing Cuyahoga river, bloated with industrial pollution, erupted into flames reaching as high as a five story building on June 22, 1969. The river, one of several heavily polluted waterways that feed Lake Erie,…
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Bowling Green saying goodbye to wind farm, staying green with new solar farm

By JD Pooley 01/31/24
The landscape west of Bowling Green will have a new look soon as the city’s iconic four wind turbines are set to come down.
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USDA’s climate action fellows to help Ohio farmers/small businesses access clean energy funds

By Farah Siddiqi 01/31/24
Ohio will soon get a dedicated person to help farmers, ranchers and other landowners apply for federal grants to help fight pollution and climate change.
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To measure climate change effects in Ohio, the answer may be found in birds

By Adriana Martinez-Smiley 12/20/23
As federal investments in climate change mitigation continue to be distributed, Ohio will also be a recipient of some award amounts.
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Anonymously funded group stokes local opposition to Ohio solar project

By Kathiann M. Kowalski 12/18/23
An anonymously funded group is spreading misinformation about a rural Ohio solar project, according to project backers and others who reviewed claims made at a recent event.
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Ohiohealth Recognized At United Nations Climate Change Conference For Its Commitment To The White House-hhs Health Sector Climate Pledge

12/11/23
OhioHealth was recognized on December 3rd by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its public commitments to decarbonizing its operations and improving resilience in the face of climate change.
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Ohio’s climate change in higher education bill advances

By Glenn Branch 12/08/23
Ohio's Senate Bill 83 — which if enacted would require the state's public institutions of higher education to remain in effect neutral about "controversial" beliefs and policies, including climate change policy — passed the House…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Dayton pledges transition to renewable sources on eve of Earth Day

06/16/21
Dayton’s elected leaders have declared a “climate emergency” and pledged to transition electric consumption in the city to all renewable sources in coming decades.

Upper Arlington’s Wind-energy Deal Latest In Series Of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

04/30/21
The city of Upper Arlington has completed the latest step in its effort to achieve "zero waste, zero pollution and zero emissions by 2030." City Manager Steve Schoeny authorized the city to enter into a…

Preparing for Climate Change in Ohio

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Ohio is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

KEY RESOURCES

Ohio Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
Ohio is home to a growing solar market, as more homeowners recognize the benefits of going green. With solar costs falling 43 percent over the past five years, experts anticipate a strong growth projection for…

Ohio State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/15/21
Ohio is a highly industrialized state that has abundant natural resources. Named after the river that forms its southern boundary, Ohio is a Great Lakes state bordered on the north by Lake Erie, the eleventh-largest…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Ohio

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Ohio experienced two severe floods and seven severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

CLEAN ENERGY

09/15/20
In 2008, the Ohio General Assembly established the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Ohio’s investor-owned distribution utilities and any competitive electric supplier in the state. The standard requires these sellers of electricity to ensure that…

Environmental Law and Policy Center

09/15/20
Often dubbed the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Lake Erie has a prominent place in the hearts of Midwesterners. It is the southernmost Great Lake with shores in several states, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New…

What Climate Change Means for Ohio

09/15/20
Ohio’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed by about one degree (F) in the last century. Floods are becoming more frequent, and ice cover on the Great Lakes is forming later or…

Ohio Inland Flooding

09/15/20
In Ohio, nearly 400,000 people are living in areas at elevated risk of inland flooding.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Ohio

08/06/20
Ohio climate and energy facts

RENEWABLES

04/19/20
Buckeye Power and its 24 member co-ops are committed to safe, reliable, affordable, and economically sustainable power production that is also environmentally responsible. Ohio’s co-ops take a balanced approach to renewable energy. While we continue…

BUILDING OHIO’S RENEWABLE ENERGY FUTURE

04/19/20
It’s time for Ohio to invest in our future and act on climate. Relying on fossil fuels to produce electricity – such as coal, oil, and natural gas – exposes our communities to dangerous pollution…

Choosing a Renewable Energy System and Installer

04/17/20
The first step in any home or business energy conservation effort should be to implement methods to reduce your current energy consumption and make your home or business energy efficient. Once you have conducted an…

Ohio Voters Support a Green Energy Future

04/17/20
Despite policymakers continued attempts to stifle Ohio’s renewable energy economy, a representative survey conducted by Climate Nexus, Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found…

RENEWABLE ENERGY

04/17/20
Renewable energy derives power from naturally and consistently occurring resources such as sunlight, wind, waves, and tides, the running water of a river, or the natural heat of the earth. Electricity or heat energy generated…

Renewables on the Rise 2018

04/17/20
A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future.

MORE NEWS

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Launches Microgrid Utility

12/07/23  
Cuyahoga County will launch the first microgrid electrical utility in the United States, according to a news release.
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Ohio Fails to Pass Restrictions on College Teaching About Climate Policies

By Dan Gearino   12/02/23  
Ohio lawmakers have failed, at least for now, to pass a bill that would exert control over discussion of “controversial beliefs” about climate policies in college classrooms.
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5 takeaways for Ohio from the National Climate Assessment

By Zaria Johnson and Others   11/26/23  
The National Climate Assessment is a research-based, federal report on climate change and its impacts, risks and responses across the country. The assessment is the culmination of years of work by nearly 500 authors and…
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Amazon announces 3 new solar farm projects coming to Ohio

By Nathan Sharman and Lydia Taylor   11/14/23  
Amazon announced plans to invest in three new renewable energy projects in Ohio, which includes solar farms in Crawford, Champaign and Fayette counties. The company now controls 21 wind and solar projects across the state.
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Utility scale solar power is coming to Ohio. The innovative way it could be a boon for sheep farmers

By Alejandro Figueroa   11/12/23  
Amanda Wilson and her husband Brady Kirwan walk down a grassy slope on their farm, making their way to their herd of sheep.
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How an Ohio-based steel company cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly a third

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   11/10/23  
Ohio-based Cleveland-Cliffs’ success in beating its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its U.S. iron and steel operations won recognition from the Department of Energy last month.
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Cleveland Regional Planning Agency Building Community Input Into Climate Change Plan

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   09/06/23  
Input from listening sessions last month will help shape Ohio’s first regional climate plan for five counties that include Cleveland and the surrounding metro area. Planners hope the sessions will also boost buy-in for actions…
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Hydrogen, nuclear among winners in last-minute changes to Ohio budget bill

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   07/06/23  
Policies for new utility charges, natural gas, nuclear power promotion and solar energy were scattered throughout the 6,198-page two-year budget bill passed by Ohio lawmakers on June 30. Line item vetoes released in the wee…
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Students and Faculty at Ohio State Respond to a Bill That Would Restrict College Discussions of Climate Policies

By Dan Gearino   05/31/23  
Keely Fisher chose to pursue her Ph.D. at Ohio State University because she wanted to learn about climate change from a world-class faculty. The problem has nothing to do with Ohio State and everything to…
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Madison commissioner: $1 billion Gates solar farm to provide “new adventure in agriculture”

By Mark Williams   05/16/23  
The company behind what would be one of the biggest solar farms in the country is making its case this week for why the project should be approved by Ohio regulators, and gained support from…
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Solar panel manufacturing booming in Ohio

By Taylor Bruck   05/15/23  
“Outside of the country of China per capita, this is the most amount of solar manufacturer, manufacturing in the world,” said Aaron Bates, the CEO of Toledo Solar.
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Frustrated by outdated grids, consumers are lobbying for control of their electricity

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   05/05/23  
Climate change is spurring interest in remaking local infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy, minimize power failures and expand consumer choice....
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Federal judge sets deadlines to reduce Ohio phosphorus pollution getting into Lake Erie

By Lester Graham   05/04/23  
A federal judge has approved a consent decree to reduce phosphorus pollution going into Lake Erie.
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Shaping the future of energy: A look at Ohio’s renewable energy sustainability challenges

By Charlotte Morgan   04/27/23  
At a recent Global Shapers Cleveland Hub forum on Shaping the Future of Energy, the conversation centered around the Ohio’s renewable energy future, its innovators, challenges with carbon emissions and opportunities.
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GSA Announces $30 Million to Boost Energy Efficiency in Ohio

04/27/23  
The U.S. GSA will invest more than $30 million as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. That investment will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs annually, cut pollution, and create…
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Brown Announces $16.1 Million To Support Solar Manufacturing In Northwest Ohio

04/23/23  
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded two Solar Manufacturing Incubator grants totaling $16,100,000 to First Solar and Toledo Solar in Perrysburg.
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Ohio Youth For Climate Justice Holds Earth Day Protest, Urges University Transparency With Fossil Fuel Investments

By Kate Shields, Jose Stewart and Becca Duncan   04/22/23  
Mother Nature spared Ohio Youth for Climate Justice from the rainstorm as 40 protesters marched across campus Saturday to demand transparency with Ohio State’s investments in fossil fuels.
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Ohio River deemed second-most endangered: report

By Carlos Mathis   04/20/23  
The Ohio River has been named in a new report that could have impacts for years to come for residents in numerous states.
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It’s Getting Hotter. Can Ohio Weather Climate Change?

By Tim Feran   04/18/23  
Most of the state has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the last century, the EPA reports. Floods are becoming more frequent, and ice cover on the Great Lakes is forming later or melting…
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America’s Education Culture War is Taking on Climate Change

By Alejandro De La Garza   03/29/23  
If you attend a college-level earth science class in Ohio in the coming years, you might learn about how climate change is causing heat waves, flooding, and record storms, and how humanity must rapidly forestall…
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Invenergy Plans to Build $220M Ohio Solar Panel Plant

By James Leggate   03/23/23  
Renewable energy developer Invenergy plans to spend $220 million to build a solar panel production plant in central Ohio as demand for polysylicon photovoltaic solar equipment grows in the U.S.
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Ohio higher-ed bill would require instructors to teach ‘both sides’ on climate change

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   03/23/23  
Climate science is among a wide range of “controversial matters” included in the Higher Education Enhancement Act, which seeks to police classroom speech on abortion, immigration, diversity, and other issues. Ohio higher-ed bill would require…
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Climate change challenges Ohio farmers

By Baylee Sweitzer   03/08/23  
Kris Swartz had a better growing season this year than he expected. He planted later than usual in the spring because it rained a lot, but dry weather in August and September gave his crops…
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The utility bailout House Bill 6 made both Ohio’s air and politics dirty

By Rob Moore   03/06/23  
With all the drama surrounding the Householder trial for racketeering, it can be easy to forget the bill behind the former Ohio Speaker of the House’s alleged $60 million payoff from First Energy power company.
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This Ohio Island Has a Problem: There’s No Ice

By Campbell Robertson   03/05/23  
When the summer tourist season ends in Put-in-Bay, an island on Lake Erie, the residents turn to the ice for fun and to earn a living. What happens when the lake refuses to freeze?...
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Can Cleveland Transition to Clean Energy?

By Anthony Elder   02/28/23  
At the recent Greater Cleveland Partnership Summit, Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability director Mike Foley championed the benefits of renewable, electricity-based energy and the danger to our current electrical grid in one breath.
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Is Cleveland the Climate Safe Haven We Think It Is?

By Dillon Stewart   02/28/23  
With the Great Lakes region safe from much of the extreme weather the rest of the country is facing, local leaders are betting the city's future on welcoming those displaced from climate change. But Northeast…
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Made-in-Ohio solar panels benefit from federal incentives, supply chain politics

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   02/21/23  
About two decades after cadmium telluride solar panels were commercialized in Ohio, the maturing technology is finding momentum thanks in part to its domestic manufacturing and supply chain. Made-in-Ohio solar panels benefit from federal incentives,…
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The plastic train wreck should be a wake-up call

02/17/23  
Thanks to a mountain of deadlines a mile high, I haven't yet been able to focus as much attention on the East Palestine train derailment as I'd like, but two things were very clear to…
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The Coming Chemical Boom

02/16/23  
Shale gas fueled a boom in the drilling industry and has provided cheaper fuel, displacing dirtier coal to generate electricity. It’s also feeding a spinoff industry in chemicals. Shell is building a multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant…
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Across the country, a big backlash to new renewables is mounting

By Robert Zullo   02/16/23  
Across the country, new renewable energy development has drawn heated opposition that has birthed, in many cases, bans, moratoriums and other restrictions. ...
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Policymakers Backed by Big Oil Are Trying to Rebrand Natural Gas as Clean Energy

By Naomi Lachance   02/14/23  
The oil and gas industry and its political allies are promoting the use of natural gas as a climate-friendly alternative to other harmful energy sources, ignoring its negative impacts on both the planet and public…
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Ohio counties lose money by snubbing renewables

By Randi Pokladnik   02/10/23  
According to the International Energy Agency report, solar now provides the cheapest electrical energy in the world. Major companies are investing in solar for its economic value and to lessen their impacts on the planet.
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Solar Panels Are the Midwest’s New Cash Crop as Green Energy Booms

By Brian Eckhouse and Naureen S. Malik   02/07/23  
The greening of red-state America, well underway in the Sun Belt, is now accelerating in the Midwest. Ohio and Indiana — two Republican-led US states long dependent on coal power — are on the verge…
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Eaton Helps AEP Ohio Develop First Microgrid for City of Columbus to Support Resilient, Sustainable Water Infrastructure

02/07/23  
Microgrid system incorporates onsite solar and battery energy storage to keep clean water flowing during grid outages
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100,000 Green Jobs Announced Since US Adopted Climate Law, Study Finds

By Carly Wanna   02/06/23  
Between last August, when President Joe Biden’s landmark climate bill became law, and the end of January, companies have announced more than 100,000 clean energy jobs in the US, according to an analysis released Monday…
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How dark money groups led Ohio to redefine gas as ‘green energy’

By Maxine Joselow   01/17/23  
Conservative groups helped Ohio lawmakers push the narrative that the fuel is clean, documents show. They are taking their campaign to other states.
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One Man’s Determined Fight for Solar Power in Rural Ohio

By Dan Gearino   11/29/22  
When Michael Wildermuth was growing up here, the snow sometimes had black specks in it because of pollution from the city’s heavy industry.
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Ohio Supreme Court upholds permit for what could be North America’s first freshwater wind farm

By Ethan Howland   08/11/22  
The Supreme Court of Ohio Wednesday upheld a permit for the 20.7-MW Icebreaker wind farm, a demonstration project that is poised to be the first freshwater wind farm in the United States. In a 6-1…
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The Energy Transition Runs Into a Ditch in Rural Ohio

By Dan Gearino   07/29/22  
Ohio—Mark Schein sings from the back row, aware that many of the people in the other pews view him as their enemy.His wife, Toni, stands by his side, but the rows around them are all…
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Climate change could cost Ohio cities $6 billion by 2050, report finds

By Maeve Walsh   07/28/22  
If climate change were a landlord, it would charge the city of Columbus exorbitant rent in coming years. A July report from the Ohio Environmental Council found that combating the effects of climate change, whether…
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Mapping tools help Ohio cities chart course for environmental justice

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   05/25/22  
Government and community groups in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati have recently used one particularly robust tool called the Greenlink Equity Map, or GEM, platform. Its maps let users see the intersections among roughly three dozen…
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The Race Is On To Build Out A Low-carbon Hydrogen Economy In Appalachia

By Reid Frazier   05/02/22  
At an industrial site on the banks of the Ohio River, Vance Powers pointed to a brand new building – a big blue box with pipes coming in and out of it.
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Clean energy future? Fossil fuel boondoggle? Chamber pushes for hydrogen hub in Ohio

By Jake Zuckerman   04/29/22  
An association of natural gas, transportation and tech businesses are pushing for a piece of an $8 billion federal investment to create a “clean hydrogen hub” in Ohio. Hydrogen, the most abundant chemical element in…
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Wind Projects Rejected In Nebraska And Ohio, Wind Rejections Across U.s. Now Total 328 Since 2015

By Robert Bryce   04/29/22  
The rejections of large-scale wind projects continue. On Tuesday, county commissioners in Otoe County, Nebraska voted to impose a one-year moratorium on applications for wind projects. The vote in Otoe County is the fifth rejection…
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Hearing slated in Findlay for major solar project

By Tom Henry   04/27/22  
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday on a proposal to build a 129.6-megawatt solar energy field across 610 acres in rural Hancock County’s Washington Township north of Arcadia, Ohio.
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Storms strain Ohio’s electric grid, and climate change could make it worse

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   04/26/22  
Major weather events accounted for more than a third of the time Ohio customers of regulated electric utilities went without power last year, according to an Energy News Network review of data filed with state…
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Jobsohio, Sarta Study Says Ohio Is Poised To Lead Hydrogen Economy, Is A Prime Location For Clean Hydrogen Hub

04/21/22  
Developing a Hydrogen Economy in Ohio: Challenges and Opportunities, a comprehensive study released today by JobsOhio and the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), asserts that Ohio is poised to become a leader in the…
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Ohio regulators to review two massive renewable energy project proposals

By Tim Sylvia   04/20/22  
The Ohio Power Siting Board has set dates to hold two local public hearings regarding some of the largest renewable energy projects ever proposed in the state: the 200 MW Palomino Solar Energy Project and…
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