December 2020 Connections
Where we are and where we are going.....Stay connected

Resolutions: We all make them, and unfortunately, most of us also break them! I know that I make a few of the same ones every year, in hopes of reading more, spending less, and exercising every day. I have come to the conclusion that resolutions should have two characteristics: They should be inspirational and they should be measurable. The inspiration will keep us committed and the measurement will allow us to track our progress.

As we compile our list, we should include resolutions that improve our lives while having a postive impact on our communities, our state, our nation, and our world. Resolutions can save money and promote clean energy, like signing up for AEP Energy's ECO-Advantage program through the GEO partnership. They can be a way to learn and connect, like joining the GEO Climate Change Book Club. They can be empowering and influential, like writing or calling your state representatives when you receive an email update on pending energy policy actions. And they can ensure the quality of life in your community, like advocating for local officials to set carbon neutral goals and embrace clean energy.

You might ask: What are GEO's resolutions? At Green Energy Ohio, we have resolved to enter our third decade with a new set of exciting programs, to broaden and diversify our outreach, to be good stewards of our resources, to explore new ways to engage and support our members, and to actively pursue forward-looking energy policies at every level of government. Inspirational? Definitely. And measurable? Yes. I'm asking you to help us keep a scorecard, so that at the end of 2021, we will be able to say we have kept our resolutions.

Happy New Year to all!
Jane Harf, Executive Director
As we come to the end of GEO's 20th anniversary year, we want to thank all of you who have generously contributed throughout 2020. Whether you shared a monetary donation, purchased or renewed a membership, sponsored our Anniversary Celebration, or participated in one of our events, you made this challenging year a success for Green Energy Ohio.

With your continued support, we look forward to many more years of pursuing our mission to promote sustainable energy policies, technologies, and practices through education, outreach, and advocacy.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to GEO before the end of 2020, or in the new year, you can do so at this link on our website.
I don't know how many of you asked Santa for a Tesla, but this ad shows us that electric vehicles have been around for a long time! And it's the perfect way to announce the Green Energy Ohio 2021 Statewide EV Tour.

The goals of the Tour go beyond showcasing EVs (although there will be plenty of that!). We want to take a holistic look at all aspects of electrification, including:
  • Connecting clean energy generation with clean transportation
  • Educating the public on EV infrastructure, availability, and use throughout Ohio
  • Showcasing business and industry partners on the cutting edge of electric vehicle production
  • Identifyng an advocacy coalition at the nexus of clean energy and clean transportation
  • Engaging policy-makers at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Supporting career pathways in the clean transportation industry

Planning has begun with a great team of volunteers, including the Drive Electric Ohio chapter leaders, GEO business members, and EV enthusiasts. We don't have specific dates yet, but we are looking at late spring or early summer with various options to accommodate health and safety concerns. At the next working group meeting we'll start putting pins on the map for our five-day journey, so if you have suggestions of great places to stop, charge, and learn about EVs, please let us know.

Thanks to long-time GEO member Jim Groeber for the fun advertisement!
GEO will be issuing our 2020 Annual Report in January, but here are a few of the program highlights from this year
In February, we partnered with Northern Ohioans for Wind (NOW) and APEX Clean Energy to host a Wind Energy Workshop at Miami University, informing participants about the economic and environmental benefits of wind farms, highlighting projects underway in Ohio, and sharing ways to support projects during the approval process. 

As it became clear that we would not be able to host in-person events, we pivoted to a virtual format. GEO's signature online event – Clean Energy in the Age of Coronavirus – began in May with the media perspective featuring two distinguished journalists. It was the first of six virtual conversations in the series, which ran until September and included clean energy businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education, energy providers, and local government officials.

Even though our popular screenings of the climate documentary “The Human Element” were put on hold, we continued to promote our online Climate Change Book Club, adding documentaries and podcasts to the monthly selections.
GEO celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day online, with a list of “50 Ways to Honor Earth Day” and a photo contest urging our members and supporters to submit pictures of themselves engaged in an Earth Day activity. 

GEO partnered with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), Solar United Neighbors and Generation 180 on the Solar Schools Tour, promoting the benefits of solar power for local school districts.  The virtual National Solar Tour ran from September 28-October 4, with October 1 designated as Solar Schools Day.  

Our first live event since March took place in October at Homearama in Cincinnati. Along with several business members and nonprofit partners, we hosted a "Grow with GEO Day" featuring energy education for visitors to the home show.

October 23 was the long-awaited GEO 20th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Presentation. We traveled to Cincinnati, Athens, Columbus, Hudson, and Kent to include Board members, business leaders, friends, and supporters in the videotaping. In addition to our great Green Achievement Award Winners, we were fortunate to have Rep. Ro Khanna of California deliver keynote remarks on federal energy and climate initiatives. 

The fourth in the series of Growing Local Solar workshops was held virtually in December. Once again, experts in developing community solar projects shared their insights with local leaders and solar activists, ending with a real-time visit to the Lakewood rooftop installation.
And here are a few issues of importance to the clean energy community on which GEO took a stand
This year, GEO provided testimony and written comments in committees of the General Assembly and at the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), issued statements on critical issues, and collaborated with other organizations to promote strong clean energy policies and to oppose policies that would take Ohio in the wrong direction.

Discussions over the future of Ohio's energy policy, culminating in the passage of House Bill 6 (HB 6) in October 2019, continued to dominate the legislative landscape in 2020. In July, GEO immediately called for repeal of HB 6 when we received news of the indictments alleging widespread acts of corruption. In additon, we assisted in a coordinated effort to secure the signtaures of over four dozen Ohio business leaders on a letter to the Governor, legislative leadership, and members of the General Assembly urging immediate repeal. At the grassroots level, we urged our members and supporters to call on the Governor and their state legislators to repeal HB 6. As bipartisan repeal legislation was considered, GEO submitted proponent testimony on Senate Bill 346 and we submitted opponent testimony on House Bill 798, delaying - but not repealing - the onerous provisions of HB 6.

At the OPSB, GEO supported the Icebreaker Wind offshore project, the Emerson Creek Wind Farm, and the development of utility-scale solar installations.

Great progress is being made at the local level in Ohio, as demonstrated by the successful ballot issues on aggregation and the use of renewable resources in Columbus and Grove City - both of which GEO endorsed.

Energy policy-making at the federal level is a challenging and complicated process; however, GEO joined with over 220 other nonprofits to lend its support to HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.