Enlightening … It seems such an appropriate word to describe an energy summit. Informative, educational and intriguing would have all been accurate as well, but enlightening seems to capture the essence best. Many of the three dozen Ohio conservative activists who attended the second annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit in Washington DC left intrigued, but returned enlightened.
Together, the Ohio delegation represented a diverse cross-section of conservatives: Generation X and Y, millennials, college Republicans, black, white, single, married, private sector, public sector, non-profit, employees and business owners. They came from Cincinnati, Columbus, Van Wert, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland. But a commitment to a strong, diverse and secure energy future for Ohio and our country unified us all.
The Conservative Clean Energy Summit was hosted by the Christian Coalition and the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, and co-sponsored by AWEA, SEIA, Defend Our Future and CRES. Hundreds of conservatives gathered from all around the country to hear from members of Congress, clean energy and business experts, national security leaders and pollsters.
For too many years, energy policy has been a partisan issue, with conservatives standing for fossil fuels, and progressives standing for renewable energy. This partisan divide has been largely driven by the debate over climate change and the environment, and has ignored the economic, national security, cost stability and poverty issues that are tied directly to our energy policy. With the constant unrest that plagues the Middle East and the globalization of natural gas prices, diversity in our energy portfolio has never been more important.
For the past two years, the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) has been frozen in Ohio. While some legislators want to continue this freeze and the economic uncertainty it brings, we cannot continue to promote policies that are bad for businesses in Ohio. We are encouraged that Governor Kasich recognizes clean energy to be a vital component to attracting 21st Century jobs to Ohio. More and more conservatives are activating around clean energy as recent Ohio polling shows that 72 percent of conservative voters in Ohio “support policies that encourage energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy” in Ohio.
A wise investor would never invest 90 percent of their retirement funds in one company or sector. Equally, we should not be dependent on globally priced energy for 90 percent of our portfolio. Use of locally controlled hydropower, solar, wind, biomass and other forms of renewable energy will give us greater stability and security when it comes to the price of our energy. Even the 2016 Republican Party Platform, written in Cleveland calls for the expansion of renewable energy. The Ohio Christian Coalition supports this conservative policy and we encourage members of the Ohio General Assembly to follow Governor Kasich’s lead in embracing conservative clean energy policies that are good for business and good for Ohio.
The writer is the State Director for the Ohio Christian Coalition.