Statewide poll of conservative voters shows overwhelming support for clean energy policies

3 in 4 conservatives support protecting individual land owner’s rights to lease their land

Columbus, OHIO – In a poll released today by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF), conservative voters throughout the state overwhelmingly supported public policies that encourage greater production of renewable energy. Among the key findings:

  • Two-thirds of Ohio conservatives believe that Ohio should diversify its energy generation portfolio by having at least half of Ohio’s energy come from renewable sources.
  • Additionally, nearly two-thirds of respondents say they are more likely to support a politician who voted for/supported renewable energy or energy efficiency legislation.

The third annual poll was conducted by the Republican polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, which specifically interviewed Ohio voters who identified as Republican or independents who also say they are conservative. Underscoring the conservative viewpoints of those polled, President Trump had an 81 percent favorable rating, up from previous OHCEF polls. Similarly, Governor Mike DeWine had a 71 percent favorable rating, up 16 percent from prior OHCEF polling.

Conservative voters also demonstrate strong and significant support for establishing setback limits that protect a land owner’s right to lease property for wind projects – with 75 percent supporting this issue. Additionally, 67 percent favor establishing reasonable setback distances of a quarter of a mile from residences for wind projects that will create additional revenue for local fire, police, and schools.

“Paulding County has seen over $700 million in economic investment from 3 commercial wind projects since 2011,” said Jerry Ziekle, Director of Paulding County Economic Director. “Thanks to local wind development, our county’s bond rating has increased to Aa3 from A1 by Moody’s. Also, our schools are receiving money from PILOT payments and the Paulding County Area Foundation was able to award over $100,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors in 2018.”

“It was not surprising that conservatives view protecting property owners’ rights as very important,” said Tyler Duvelius, Executive Director of OHCEF. “Fifty-two percent said protecting property owners’ ability to produce energy on their land was important to them. Simply put, it’s your land and your rules.”

Additionally, Ohio conservatives have the most positive feelings about energy efficiency and natural gas followed by solar, wind, coal, nuclear power and electric vehicles. In particular, conservatives’ feelings toward solar and wind have considerably increased over the past several years. Voters say the most important energy issue is keeping electricity rates low followed by protecting lakes, rivers and streams, and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

“Conservatives as a whole find national security to be a critical topic, yet do not factor in how renewable energy plays a role in protecting our country,” said Lt. General Richard Zilmer, USMC (Ret.). “Companies are focused on renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy – for the simple reason that renewable energy is not only better for the environment than traditional sources, but is better for the security of our nation, and increasingly a better choice economically.”

It should also be noted that conservative voters continue to view increasing the use of renewable energy sources as a job creator. And, 82 percent support allowing utility customers who generate their own power through solar panels to be compensated for generating more power than they can use.

“The results speak for themselves,” said Duvelius. “Ohio currently generates just 3 percent of our electricity from renewable sources. We believe that the best approach for our state is a diverse, all-of-the-above energy portfolio – and the vast majority of conservative Ohioans agree. With this in mind, it is clear that Ohio conservatives want renewable energy to make up a larger portion of Ohio’s energy portfolio. Ohio lawmakers should heed this message from their constituents, rather than continuing to lag behind our neighboring states and losing out to them on economic development and job opportunities.”

Public Opinion Strategies conducted the survey from January 19-22, 2019 and completed 400 telephone interviews with registered voters who identify as conservative.  The margin of sampling error for this statewide sample of conservative voters is +/-­‐4.9%.


Budweiser: At the corner of Tradition and Innovation

As we emerge from the plunging temperatures of a polar vortex, let’s take a moment to close our eyes and imagine the warmth of the Fourth of July.  What do you see?  For me, I see American flags flying high, cookouts with friends and family, time in the sun, and a Budweiser in hand (with another on its way).

As cliché as it is to say – Budweiser is as American as fireworks on the Fourth of July.  Introduced in 1876, Budweiser has been enjoyed by our the men and women of our military and was Peyton Manning’s drink of choice upon announcing his retirement after winning Super Bowl 50.

How does this iconic company stay relevant?  How do they transition from at 19th Century company to a thriving 21st Century corporation?  The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Budweiser has committed to powering 100% of its operations through renewable energy.  That’s right, a $56 billion company is relying on wind energy to bring us the beer we all loveAnd they’re not the only ones.

In fact, Budweiser’s commitment to renewable energy is so strong they have elected to make it the focal point of their Super Bowl commercial.  That’s right, Budweiser is using their most expensive marketing campaign of the year to focus on their use of renewable energy, particularly wind.

As is necessary with any marketing campaign, Budweiser has popular opinion on their side… by a wide margin.  According to recent polling by the Conservative Energy Network and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, 81% of voters support clean energy development, including 64% of Republicans.

So why is a thriving company in a competitive industry making this commitment?  Certainly, this can’t be practically or economically feasible, right?

Wrong.  It’s actually as easy as ABC.  So, crack open a Bud, let’s chat.

  1. It’s accessible. Wind energy production has skyrocketed in over the last decade.  Wind production is up nearly 500% and more projects are always in the pipeline.  In Ohio alone, there over 175 wind turbines are currently being constructed or developed.  Developers and businesses want to push for even more.
  2. It’s beneficial. Barley, rice, hops – These are three key ingredients to any Budweiser. As shown in the commercial, wind turbines are placed on the farms where they grow these ingredients.  Each wind turbine yields $10-15k for the property owner.  With a relatively low footprint, farmers can still farm their crops and now have a guaranteed $10-15k per turbine per year.  This provides an economic backstop in lean farming years and an opportunity to invest in their operations in strong farming years.
  3. It’s cheaper. According to Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, when all government subsidies are removed, wind energy is the cheapest form of energy in production in the United States. Businesses exist to make money.  Bottom line: advanced energy is good for the bottom line.

In Ohio, burdensome wind setback regulations are currently prohibiting the growth of the wind industry that is being demanded by both businesses and consumers.  The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum looks forward to continuing to educate policymakers and community members about the necessity to re-work the setbacks.  Revising the current setbacks to a more reasonable level will give our state the potential to add 15,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in economic investment.  Ohioans want the right to harvest raw power from their land.  It’s time to restore liberty and get unnecessary government regulations off our land!

Businesses are committed to using renewable energy.  State energy policies are key to attracting and retaining these businesses to provide jobs for Ohioans.  Let’s make sure we have policies that don’t inhibit private sector growth and job creation in our state.

We can never ease our pursuit for more Ohio jobs.  A hard work ethic is at the cornerstone of Ohio values.  After all, what are the most satisfying words you can hear after a long work week – “This Bud’s for you!”

OHCEF Testifies in Favor of Sub. HB 114

The following testimony was given by OHCEF Executive Director Tyler Duvelius to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, June 6, 2018:

Chairman Balderson, Vice Chairman Jordan, Ranking Member O’Brien, members of the committee – Good afternoon.  My name is Tyler Duvelius, I am the Executive Director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum. The goal of OHCEF is to provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations, and businesses to join the conservative conversation about Ohio’s energy future. We believe that a diverse all-of-the-above energy portfolio, one that includes traditional sources like coal, oil and natural gas, as well as clean and renewable forms of energy, will prove to be a competitive advantage for Ohio in the 21st Century. By embracing all sources of energy, we will lower costs by increasing our commitment to developing reliable, homegrown energy sources.

I am here today to offer testimony in favor of Substitute House Bill 114. This bill is a responsible, well thought out compromise that will allow certainty for businesses that are looking to create thousands of jobs and invest billions of dollars into the Ohio economy. I applaud this body for their work in creating a sound energy policy that will positively shape Ohio’s future.

In this bill, reasonable standards have been introduced that will diversify Ohio’s energy portfolio without impeding competitive choice and the free market. Furthermore, businesses will no longer have to worry about a moving goal post. They will be able to accurately forecast the Ohio market for the foreseeable future.

OHCEF was also incredibly pleased to see the proposed compromise on wind setbacks. As you know, the current setback law, passed in 2014, has acted as a de-facto ban on new private sector development in Ohio.

This chamber has demonstrated consistent leadership in working to give property rights back to Ohio landowners while also creating an environment that attracts and retains businesses and jobs. These fixes to the current setback law are a signal to job creators that Ohio remains open for business and is in concurrence with the views of an overwhelming majority of conservatives across Ohio.

Recent polling by OHCEF found that 76% of Ohio conservatives are in support of revising the current wind setback. In addition to the numerous economic and business benefits, these fixes will ensure that Ohio landowners are able to utilize their land to maximize the profitability of their farms for their families. When businesses demand access to wind-produced energy, our state is best served by listening and responding to that market demand. Revising the wind setbacks is a major step forward for our state.

In conclusion, Substitute House Bill 114 is a well-reasoned compromise that has the potential to unleash thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic investment in Ohio. This bill adheres to free-market principles that are supported by Ohio conservatives and fixes a burdensome government regulation that will return property rights to Ohio landowners. The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum is appreciative and supportive of the leadership shown by this body in the crafting of Substitute HB 114.

Thank you for your time. I am happy to answer any questions the committee may have.


Mike Hartley: Ohio Conservatives Value Renewable Energy

The following Op-Ed appeared in The Columbus Dispatch on Monday, February 5, 2018.

Job creation. Economic growth. Property rights. These priorities have long been at the heart of conservative policymaking because they enrich our communities with opportunity and help individuals and families pursue the American dream on their own terms. Right now, Ohio has an opportunity to advance and defend these conservative ideals by embracing sound, forward-looking clean-energy policy.

That means maintaining current standards for energy efficiency and renewable-power generation and removing the regulatory barriers blocking landowners who want to develop wind power on their property. And the good news that Republican leaders in Columbus need to hear is that conservative voters across Ohio are hungry for it. They are eager for the economic opportunity that the clean-energy economy offers, and they want elected officials to lead on this issue. In a new poll of Republican and conservative Ohio voters, the data show that:

‒ 78 percent of these voters support President Trump.
‒ 60 percent support existing renewable-energy standards.
‒ Nearly four in five conservative voters in Ohio (79 percent) say they would tell a Republican candidate to support policies that encourage energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy in the state.
‒ 82 percent of voters surveyed supported programs to encourage energy efficiency, 87 percent supported net metering, 60 percent supported requiring an increase in the use of renewable energy to 12.5 percent by 2027 and 76 percent supported increasing research and development in battery-storage technologies.
‒ Conservative voters also register strong and significant support for establishing setback limits for wind projects that will allow wind-energy investment to occur in rural Ohio while protecting landowners’ rights to lease their land for wind projects with 76 percent support. Only 17 percent of conservative voters oppose it.

These numbers are strong and clear. And when you combine these hopes and priorities of conservative voters with the many economic benefits Ohio stands to gain by embracing clean energy, this shouldn’t be a controversial policy discussion.

Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, for example, is quite modest in that it requires utilities to draw just 12.5 percent of their power supply from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2027. That leaves 87.5 percent of Ohio’s power supply to come from coal, natural gas and nuclear generation. Just like good financial investment practices, having a diverse energy portfolio is a smart and conservative strategy.

And there are numerous indicators that access to a reliable supply of renewable energy is a powerful economic development tool.

Columbus made the top-20-finalists list for the location of Amazon’s second headquarters — an economic-development opportunity that represents a $5 billion investment and up to 50,000 new jobs. Amazon is prioritizing the availability of renewable power in their selection criteria, but Ohio’s Republican leaders are actively trying to weaken Ohio’s already-modest standard.

When it comes to property rights and economic development, our state legislators are standing in the way of another $4.2 billion worth of investment in Ohio wind power. Overly restrictive setback regulations that were put in place in 2014 by legislative leaders have stopped new wind development in Ohio dead in its tracks.

Neighboring states are enjoying billions of dollars in investment that should be coming to Ohio. Farmers and rural property owners deserve the right to develop their land and earn real income from the generation of wind power on their property. Thankfully, state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, has introduced legislation to fix these egregious restrictions, protect property owners’ rights to generate income on their land and open Ohio back up for business.

I have worked to advance conservative values and policies in Ohio for decades, and I know a good opportunity to align policy, politics and voter preference when I see one. Advancing strong clean-energy policies is a straight and clear path forward to create jobs, strengthen the economy and defend property rights in Ohio. What could be more conservative than that?

Mike Hartley is a consultant with the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, an organization that supports an “all-of- the-above” energy future that includes clean and renewable energy innovation and solutions.

OHCEF releases statewide survey showing conservative voters overwhelmingly support clean energy policies

Columbus, OHIO – Today, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) released a statewide poll Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Survey Key showing conservative voters throughout the state overwhelmingly support public policies that encourage greater production of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, including renewable energy standards and revising wind setback rules.

The poll was conducted by the Republican polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies and only interviewed voters who identified as Republican or independents who also say they are conservative.

Nearly four-in-five conservative voters in Ohio (79 percent) say they would tell a Republican candidate to support policies that encourage energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy in the state.

Accordingly, 82 percent of voters surveyed supported programs to encourage energy efficiency, 87 percent supported net metering, 60 percent supported requiring an increase in the use of renewable energy to 12.5 percent by 2027 and 76 percent supported increasing R&D in battery storage technologies.

“This poll is something Ohio’s elected officials need to know, especially as new legislation is being considered in the Republican-led Ohio General Assembly to reduce energy efficiency standards,” said Mike Hartley, consultant, OHCEF. “The poll clearly shows that conservatives support energy efficiency policies and see it as a way to create more jobs and move Ohio forward.”

Conservative voters also register strong and significant support for establishing setback limits for wind projects that will allow wind energy investment to occur in rural Ohio while protecting individual landowner’s rights to lease their land for wind projects with 76 percent support. Only 17 percent of conservative voters oppose it.

Support may in part be due to the electorate’s sense that increasing use of renewable energy will benefit jobs in Ohio. These conservative voters register positive feelings toward a range of energy sources, particularly natural gas and energy efficiency.

“With the continuing debate about Ohio’s wind set back, it’s clear Ohio conservatives are ready to allow farmers the opportunity to decide what’s best for their business and their property,” said Hartley. “Conservatives also realize that if Ohio wants to attract businesses such as Amazon and Facebook, renewable energy is key.”

In addition, 85 percent of conservative voters voiced willingness to personally pay more for their electricity if sourced from renewable energy sources.

Public Opinion Strategies conducted the survey from December 7-11, 2017 and completed 400 telephone interviews with registered voters who identify as Republican or independents who say they are conservative. The margin of sampling error for this statewide sample of conservative voters is +/-­‐4.9%.


Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Survey Key Findings_FINAL

Media Statement SB 238

For Immediate Release December 6, 2017

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum today issued the following statement from Tyler Duvelius, Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Board and Leadership Council Member, in response to State Senator Matt Dolan’s (R-Chagrin Falls) introduction of Senate Bill 238 – legislation to fix Ohio’s wind setback policy.

“We applaud Senator Dolan for leading the charge to ensure we protect the property rights of land owners, while ensuring Ohio can benefit from the jobs and economic investment from wind energy. The proposed legislation is a compromise between the current policy and what existed before 2014. Renewable energy plays an important role in our national security, as illustrated by the U.S. Army recently contracting solar and wind to power about half of Fort Hood’s operations to ensure that the base has access to power if the grid is attacked and saving taxpayers millions by doing so. Additionally, the current policy is limiting landowner rights, and it’s imperative we allow farmers to decide how to run their business, lease their land and provide for their families.”


Media Contact: Michael Hartley, 614-395-4545

Time for conservatives to lead on clean energy in Ohio: Mike Hartley (Opinion)

For decades, conservatives led the way protecting our natural resources. From Richard Nixon’s establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency to George H.W. Bush’s push for a stronger Clean Air Act or Teddy Roosevelt’s designation of the national parks, Republican leaders have been at the forefront of the country’s most significant policies.

Yet, when it comes to our energy future, we’ve allowed the debate to be dominated by the left. Not only has this fueled the hyperpartisanship we see today, it also has failed to deliver a comprehensive energy plan that creates market and protects our economic and national security interests.

Nowhere is this paradigm more apparent than in Ohio right now. For too long the two political parties have been stuck on opposite sides of the debate. The state legislature continues to debate the fate of Ohio’s clean-energy policy with entrenched views from continuing the freeze or outright repealing of the old clean energy standards on one side to full reinstatement or even stronger standards on the other side – typically, along party lines.
The bill would freeze renewable-energy standards for three additional years.

Ohio’s clean-energy standards have been frozen for the past two years – thwarting investment and development across the state. Were the original standards arbitrary? Yes. Does the state face a different set of factors now than when the standards were first established? Absolutely. Does that mean we should abandon a path to diversify our energy portfolio? No. These are real challenges facing Ohio and we need a sensible path forward.

That’s why the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) was established. We believe in a genuine “all-of-the-above” approach to Ohio’s energy policy – one that recognizes our history while also committing to advancing clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency. Moving Ohio toward an all-of-the-above policy will create jobs, expand our economy, increase national security through energy independence, improve quality of life and leave behind a powerful legacy for future generations of Ohioans.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his fellow Republicans in the state legislature are fond of talking about the need to create jobs. But their decision to at least temporarily freeze mandates that were designed to boost the use of renewable energy is actually costing us jobs and other economic benefits derived from a fast-growing industry. Where is the sense…

A comprehensive energy policy that diversifies our electricity will lower systematic costs.
The goal of OHCEF is to provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations and businesses to join the conservative conversation about Ohio’s energy future. We believe that a comprehensive energy policy that diversifies our electricity will lower systematic costs by increasing our commitment to develop homegrown clean energy resources.

On the presidential campaign trail, we heard Gov. John Kasich restate his commitment to reinstate the right clean-energy policy framework and stop attempts to hold clean energy back in Ohio. He further went on to explain the importance of innovating and protecting our economic and national security interests. His administration has been at he forefront of lower taxes, attracting investment into the state and creating jobs. We see a clear and predictable energy policy as a vital component to foster a healthy economy for the state.
Gov. John Kasich chose a New Hampshire town hall meeting to warn Ohio GOP lawmakers that if they try to permanently gut the state’s energy efficiency programs and wind and solar requirements, the state will return to its original even tougher standards because “I am not playing around with this.”

If the conversation about Ohio’s clean energy future is to progress, we need to go beyond the debate about either continuing the freeze indefinitely or just reinstating the old framework. We need a new path. We need a policy framework that fosters innovation, encourages new investment and sets the right market signals. If we’re successful in achieving this, we can have a new policy that establishes an all-of-the-above generation portfolio, lowers the cost of electricity, creates jobs and makes Ohio an even more attractive place for businesses.

This is a huge opportunity for Ohio. Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google are looking to locate facilities in the state. These billion-dollar investments utilize a lot of electricity and these companies want to power these facilities with renewable energy because it makes smart economic sense. An Amazon official who testified recently in Ohio about the state’s current wind setback policy said the only thing holding the state back is its energy policy.  We can create the right market-based clean energy policy framework that will attract these cutting-edge tech companies, strengthen our economy, control electricity costs and protect our natural resources in Ohio.

We’re at an energy crossroads. We can stay stuck in the past and slowly start to see our competitive advantage diminish and lose out on attracting 21st-century businesses or we can chart a new path that will create a stable future for our economy and generations to come. From my perspective, conservatives stand ready to embrace the future.

Mike Hartley is executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, founded in 2015 by conservatives favoring an “all-of-the-above” approach to Ohio’s energy policy.