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Ohio becomes twenty sixth state with renewables mandate

At the end of last month, Governor Ted Strickland's expected signature was all that was keeping Ohio from becoming the 26th state to pass a mandate for the renewables content of its power supply. As part of a complex energy bill that sailed through the legislature, the mandate requires that 25% of Ohio's electricity come from "advanced energy" sources by 2025, with at least half from renewables and the remainder from so-called "clean coal" and other non-renewables. "But some of the other half could end up being renewables too," says Amy Gomberg of Environment Ohio. "So when you look at Ohio and how much energy we use, this is actually going to require a lot of wind development for us." Ohio is one of the most populous US states and averages a load of up to 34,000 MW during summer peak demand and over 90% comes from coal. In terms of driving wind development, the mandate could be "much more significant" than those of other states says Gomberg. The law's benchmarks require 0.25% renewables in 2009 and 0.5% in 2010, with 0.5% yearly increases until reaching 2.5% in 2014, from when they ramp up to 1% annual increases. Ohio has only 7 MW of wind power but a thriving wind energy industry. "On the manufacturing side there are more than 100 Ohio companies that are already involved in the supply chain," Gomberg says. "Unfortunately, most of them are shipping their parts to Clipper's plant in Iowa or Gamesa's in Pennsylvania." Gomberg says India's Suzlon has shown recent interest in Ohio. "We're hoping that the passage of this legislation will help Ohio land a turbine manufacturer that can put together all the component pieces that we're already producing."

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