More than a dozen members of the Ohio business community and regional developers came together this week for a virtual panel discussion to share their perspectives on the need to repeal House Bill 6, the coal and nuclear bailout legislation at the center of a $61 million bribery scandal currently under federal investigation. 

“House Bill 6 was a blow to Ohio’s economy, livelihoods and clean energy future,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy for Ceres and moderator of the Nov. 16 event. “We urge lawmakers to heed the call for action from a diverse group of businesses and stakeholders on Ohio’s clean energy future.”

With no opportunities available for virtual testimony on House Bill 6 repeal legislation, the panel offered a safe option for business leaders to deliver remarks. Representing businesses from every corner of Ohio, participants highlighted the impact of House Bill 6 on job creation, economic development and future clean energy investment in Ohio. Ohio lawmakers received an invitation to attend the discussion and hear from these businesses directly.

"Without full repeal and proper replacement of House Bill 6 in a way that supports the clean energy industry, it will be hard for me to recommend Ohio to investors, business owners, and young entrepreneurs as a place to grow their businesses,” said Greg Smith, president of GSS Advisors in Dayton.

"When you go to an international conference and you say you are a solar developer from Ohio, you get a wry smile back. We are born and raised here and don't want to move our company to Illinois, Indiana or Iowa to develop and bring these benefits to our state,” said Jake Kuss, vice president of marketing and operations for Solarvision, LLC in Worthington.
 
Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards have helped businesses and their supply chains cut energy costs, hedge against fuel price volatility and make progress toward their commitments to reduce emissions. Further, clean energy investments keep businesses viable in an environment where shareholders and consumers increasingly value sustainability. Ensuring the availability of clean energy resources is critical as businesses navigate a shifting economy.

“The impact of House Bill 6, and even the threat of it as it was coming online, killed projects,” said Geoff Greenfield, president and founder of Third Sun Solar in Athens. “We are growing at 25 to 50 percent of the rate we would have been growing if House Bill 6 had not become law. Business will go to other states where they have certainty of policy.”

“House Bill 6 is at odds with our objective to bring clean energy and clean transportation to Ohio,” said Irina Filippova, chief operating officer for Electrada, LLC, a Cincinnati electric mobility startup in Cincinnati that opened in 2020. “Given the inevitable direction in which transportation is moving, more people will be consuming electricity. That electricity will need to come from cleaner, renewable sources. We support a repeal of House Bill 6.”

The panel discussion follows previous calls from the business community to restore clean energy standards. This summer, a group of nearly 50 businesses, investors, trade associations, and employers in Ohio sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine and members of the Ohio Legislature stating that, “the loss of clean energy and energy efficiency jobs has real implications for our economy. It is critical that the legislature immediately repeal HB 6 to restore confidence in the legislative process and put Ohio back on a path toward economic recovery.” 
 
It has now been 118 days since news broke of the first arrests related to House Bill 6. While further investigations continue and evidence is still being collected, the Ohio General Assembly has yet to take action to repeal the legislation. Business leaders will continue to engage with members of the legislature throughout lame duck session in hopes of securing a repeal prior to the end of this session.

A complete listing of businesses and associations participating in the panel discussion include: First Solar, Melink Corporation, Clif Bar, National Association of Energy Service Companies, Energy Optimizers, Paulding Chamber of Commerce, Third Sun Solar, ARP Solar, Heat is Power Association/Midwest Cogeneration Association, Inovateus Solar, GSS Consulting, LLC, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, Electrada, LLC, Solarvision LLC, Anax Power, Building Performance Association, and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy.