Energy Consultants Assess Future Options for Ohio's Electricity Infrastructure

June 01, 2015

Ohio is likely to see a great deal of change in its electric infrastructure over the next decade and should evaluate its approach to meet changing electricity resource demands and environmental compliance obligations in the future, according to a recent Analysis Group report prepared for Ohio Advanced Energy Economy. In "Ohio's Electricity Future: Assessment of Context and Options," Vice Presidents Paul Hibbard and Andrea Okie review the challenges that Ohio is facing with respect to electricity markets, regulation, and policy, and consider potential options moving forward. In their evaluation, the authors note that Ohio is at a crossroads, because the "links between energy, economy, climate, and the environment are more evident in Ohio than almost anywhere across the United States."

The analysis identifies four broad technology and policy approaches and evaluates them against a set of factors -- reliability, cost, ratepayer risks, state control, economic impact, health and environmental concerns, and emission control obligations -- to explore the advantages, disadvantages, and neutral impact of each. The four approaches, which could be pursued individually or in combination, are:

  • Develop natural gas and wind resources 
  • Continue operation of existing coal and nuclear power plants
  • Invest in energy efficiency, demand response, and behind-the-meter generation
  • Purchase renewable and combined heat and power (CHP) resources
Four Pathways: Advantages (✓), Disadvantages (X), and Neutral (--)
Resource Alternatives Reliability Cost Ratepayer Risk State Control State Economic Impact Health & Environment Emission Control
Market Development of Natural
Gas and Wind In or Out of State
-- -- -- --
Support for Coal & Nuclear Plants -- X -- X
Support for Energy Efficiency and
Demand Response
Support for Renewables and CHP -- -- --

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The authors note that, although their analysis is not meant to identify a particular strategy, there are some fairly straightforward conclusions related to the risks and benefits of these approaches. Efforts to develop energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable resources within the state "may provide an effective economic hedge against the advancement of current and future state and federal laws and regulations addressing the public health, environmental, and climate risk impacts of traditional fossil-fueled power plant operations."

Read the report

Read the Ohio Advanced Energy Economy release