Ohio Leading U.S. in Power Sector Carbon Reductions — Thanks to Fracking

An Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) blog post published Thursday hailed Ohio as the “nation’s carbon-reducing powerhouse,” a distinction that can be credited to the Buckeye state’s dramatic increase in natural gas-fired electricity generation since 2005. Crain’s Cleveland Business summed it up best when they reported,

“The biggest reason for the decline, according to watchers, is the advent of shale gas drilling in Ohio. The shale drilling boom’s cheap gas has caused new natural gas power plants to come online in Ohio and nearby states that sell their power into Ohio on a shared electricity grid.”

EDF blogger Dick Munson reports that Ohio power sector carbon emissions declined 37.7 percent from 2005 to 2015, far outpacing other runner-up Indiana’s 28.6 percent reductions.

Not coincidentally, these reductions have come at the same time that natural gas-fired electricity generation has increased 940 percent since 2005, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

As Munson notes, there is “no doubt the steep drop in natural gas prices during this time period played a starring role in this change…”

Munson goes on to say,

“Despite not having a stellar track record on clean energy, the Buckeye State, in fact, has become the nation’s carbon-reducing powerhouse: In absolute terms, Ohio slashed its carbon pollution by 50 million metric tons (MMT) during that decade – far more than any other state.”

And not only has Ohio managed to lead the U.S. in energy-related carbon reductions, it has done so while keeping energy prices low. Munson reports that Ohioans have realized $15 billion in customer savings due to energy policy that has facilitated the development natural gas power plants that — combined with the massive amounts of natural gas provided by the Utica and nearby Marcellus shales — have kept energy costs extremely low,

“in the late 1980s, Ohio and 16 other states opened up electricity generation to competition, enabling customers to choose their power supplier. Competition has resulted in prioritizing cheaper fuel sources (like natural gas and increasingly wind and solar).”

But the real question is, how much more improvement in air quality may Ohio have yet to realize as the state transitions to even more natural gas power generation? Given the facts and recent data analysis by environmental groups like EDF, an even bigger story may be yet to come!

That is because there are a total of 11 natural gas power plant projects in various stages of development in Ohio, which will continue bringing lower carbon emissions, cleaner air and economic benefits to the communities where they are being built.

Project County State Status
Carroll County Energy Carroll County OH Under construction
South Field Energy Columbiana County OH Permitted by OPSB
Oregon Clean Energy Lucas County OH Completed
Oregon  Energy Lucas County OH Application filed
Pickaway Energy Center Pickaway County OH Announced
Middletown Energy Center Butler County OH Under construction
Lordstown Energy Center Trumbull County OH Under construction
Trumbull Energy Center Trumbull County OH Permitted by OPSB
Guernsey Power Station Guernsey County OH Permitted by OPSB
Harrison Power Project Harrison County OH Proposed
Hannibal Port Power Project Monroe County OH Proposed

Of course these power plants are only made possible thanks to two very important factors: a competitive market and prolific production of the natural gas to fuel them, which of course is coming directly from fracking. This is just another example of how shale is a win for the economy and the environment!


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