Ohio is a Key Player for Renewable Energy Projects

Ohio is becoming a leader in the renewable energy marketplace.  Whether manufacturing renewable energy products or developing renewable energy facilities, the Buckeye State is responding to the demands of manufacturers and tech companies alike for the availability of renewable energy sources. 

First, Ohio is a major consumer of energy as the 7th largest state in the union with a substantial energy-intensive manufacturing base.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Ohio’s energy consumption profile includes:

  • Production from the Utica Shale accounts for almost all of the rapid increase in Ohio’s natural gas output, which was more than 30 times higher in 2020 than in 2010.
  • Ohio is the eighth-largest ethanol-producing state in the nation, and its seven ethanol plants have a production capacity of more than 700 million gallons per year.
  • Ohio has the sixth-largest crude oil-refining capacity in the nation, and the state’s four refineries can process a combined total of nearly 601,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day.
  • Ohio is one of the top 10 coal-consuming states in the nation. Three times as much coal is consumed in Ohio as is produced in the state.
  • In 2020, Ohio was the fourth-largest electricity consumer among the states and ranked among the top 10 states in electricity net generation. Natural gas has fueled the largest share of Ohio’s in-state net generation since 2019.

The use of renewable energy sources in Ohio is on the upswing as well.  A recent study made the following findings:

  • Several Ohio cities, including those with the largest population, have renewable energy or greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Of the cities with renewable energy goals, the average target is 72% by 2027.
  • Nearly 70% of Ohio’s regional planning commissions have publicly noted an interest in renewable energy or environmental sustainability plans.
  • Over 33% of the municipalities reviewed allow utility-scale solar or wind energy generation as land use.
  • Nearly 25% of Ohio’s townships expressly allow some form of utility-scale renewable energy (solar or wind) generation as land use.
  • Approximately 14% of Ohio’s counties have zoning codes that allow utility-scale solar or wind energy generation as land use.[i]

Ohio has been heavily involved with solar panel production. The solar industry has invested $1,416,910,000 in Ohio, including $383,300,000 in 2021.[1] The Buckeye State is also home to 205 operating solar companies and 6,532 solar jobs. Ohio also has a projected growth of 5,879.82 MW over the next five years, ranking it 4th in the United States. Honda, Union County’s largest employer, is focused on reducing CO2 in facility operations and sourcing 60% of its electricity in North America from renewable energy. One of the car manufacturing processes for which Honda is focused on reducing its carbon footprint is auto body painting. The Marysville plant, for example, is responsible for painting five of Honda’s models which produces a lot of CO2 in the nearby area. To combat this, Honda has developed a method to reduce energy use in the painting process which has helped reduce the amount of energy used per auto by 14% over the past decade.[2]

Responding to the industrial, office and technology company marketplace, renewable energy projects have been sprouting up all over the Buckeye State.  Many regions have benefited from the development of solar and wind projects. In 2017, Bowling Green began receiving power from the largest solar field in Ohio. The 165-acre solar generating facility, constructed on City owned property, produces up to 20.0-megawatts (MW) and is connected directly to the Bowling Green Transmission System.[ii] The site consists of more than 85,000 solar panels and utilizes a single axis tracking system that allows the solar field to increase production throughout the day.[iii] In an average year, this clean energy site produces an equivalent amount of energy to power approximately 3,000 homes, avoids 25,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and accounts for up to 3.5% of Bowling Green’s annual power supply.[iv] To add increased environmental value to the site, the City has also worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wood County Park District, and Pheasants Forever to establish a pollinator habitat on the area surrounding the solar field.[v]  Bowling Green is also home to Ohio’s first utility-scale wind farm.[vi] The site consists of four, 391 feet tall turbines, and these turbines are as tall as a 30-story building and generate up to a total of 7.2 MW of power, enough to supply electricity for approximately 2,500 homes.[vii] The project is owned by ten municipal electric utilities with Bowling Green owning the largest share at 3.6 MW which provides up to 1.4% of Bowling Green’s annual power supply.[viii] Ohio renewable energy projects can serve as beacons for economic development projects as companies in a wide range of industries search for renewable energy sources.

[1] https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/Ohio%20Solar-Factsheet-2022-Q2.pdf

[2] http://www.honda.com/environment/honda-green-path

[i] chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/OH-Renewable-Energy-Low-Conflict-Zone-Data-Exec-Summary.pdf

[ii] https://www.bgohio.org/299/Renewable-Energy

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ibid.