New Analysis Shows Ohio Can Meet Future Carbon Pollution Standards

Editor’s Note: Experts are available in Ohio and Washington, D.C. to discuss this analysis.

New analysis of Ohio’s power sector shows that the state is in a strong position to meet – and possibly exceed – national carbon pollution standards that will be established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the coming years. The analysis, conducted by experts at the World Resources Institute, shows that the state already has considerable momentum toward substantive emissions reductions and a robust clean energy sector.

The analysis finds that Ohio can achieve a 27 percent emissions reduction (below 2011 emissions levels) through a combination of existing state policies and improved use of existing infrastructure.

“Lowering emissions will protect human health and the environment from dangerous climate change while creating new business opportunities. Ohio can make serious progress at the state level,” said Michael Obeiter, a senior associate at WRI, who led the analysis. “The state has made good progress in reducing its emissions and is poised to drive a greater shift toward a low-carbon future.”

Through existing state efficiency and renewable energy goals, the Buckeye state is well-positioned to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in line with new standards for power plants that EPA is expected to put into place in the near future. These standards are part of the Climate Action Plan, introduced by President Obama in June, to reduce harmful carbon pollution and other emissions.

Following are ways that Ohio can help meet these reductions.

Meeting existing state policy goals:

  • Meeting the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) passed in 2008 would reduce Ohio’s emissions by 10 percent by 2020 compared to 2011 levels;
  • Meeting the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) passed in 2009, would reduce Ohio’s emissions by 7 percent in 2020 compared by 2011 levels.

Using existing infrastructure to achieve further emissions reductions:

  • Increasing combined heat and power (CHP) at commercial and industrial facilities would reduce Ohio’s emissions by 3 percent in 2020 compared to 2011 levels;
  • Fully utilizing combined cycle natural gas capacity would reduce Ohio’s emissions by 7 percent in 2020 compared to 2011 levels;
  • Increasing efficiency of existing coal-fired power plant fleet would reduce Ohio’s emissions by 2 percent in 2020 compared to 2011 levels.

In fact, the report suggests that strengthening the EERS and RPS, plus increasing CHP capacity, could propel Ohio to surpass the federal limitations and lower emissions by 62 percent below 2011 levels by 2030. Ohio’s wind capacity rose from 10 megawatts at the end of 2010 to 426 megawatts at the end of 2012, evidence of Ohio’s sizeable wind energy potential.

“Forward-looking states, like Ohio, can achieve significant reductions through policies that are both cost effective and flexible. Our analysis finds that Ohio can be a significant contributor toward the U.S. goal of reducing harmful pollution that is driving climate change,” said Obeiter.

The Ohio fact sheet is available here: