By Tyler M. Duvelius
As President-Elect Donald Trump continues to announce his cabinet picks, many were intrigued by his selection of Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy. You may recall that the Department of Energy was part of the three federal departments Governor Perry wanted to cut in his infamous “oops” moment. So why would Rick Perry be interested in running a department he once pledged to eliminate as President? And more importantly, how can Ohio conservatives learn from Rick Perry’s successes in Texas?
People are often surprised to learn that renewable energy production in Texas exploded during Rick Perry’s fifteen-year tenure as Governor. From 2000 to 2015, Texas became the leading producer of wind energy in the United States going from 115 megawatts in 2000 to nearly 18,000 megawatts by the end of Governor Perry’s administration in 2015. The success of the wind industry, coupled with other renewables in Texas, led to Texas consistently meeting and exceeding renewable energy standards during the first 15 years of the 21st Century. Renewable energy has allowed Texans to enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation. The wind industry alone has created over 25,000 jobs for Texans.
Rick Perry’s acceptance of his nomination shows his belief that a true “all of the above” energy policy that accepts renewable energy can spur business development and create jobs for Americans. By taking a conservative approach to energy reform, America can become truly energy independent while creating new, 21st Century jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Governor Perry and President-Elect Trump should allow states to establish their own energy policies that will allow each state to draw on its own God given, natural resources.
Conservatives in Ohio should use policies embraced by Texas during the Perry administration to ensure Ohio joins Texas as a leader in energy production in the United States. By embracing a modest renewable energy standard of 5 percent over the next five years, Ohio will allow renewable and alternative energies a chance to flourish. If a conservative state like Texas embraces renewable energy standards, Ohio should be eager to replicate their success.
Recent polling shows that 72 percent of Ohio conservatives support renewable energy policies while 62 percent support a gradual 5 percent increase in renewable energy standards over the next five years. Even more impressively, 82 percent of Ohio conservatives support programs that encourage energy efficiency.
By embracing renewable energy and a true “all of the above” energy policy, studies show Ohio can create 100,000 jobs and save Ohio ratepayers $40 million by 2030. This puts more money back into the pockets of families, churches, and small businesses. Renewable energy standards will also attract further business investment to Ohio by creating economic certainty. This will allow businesses like Amazon and Whirlpool to continue to invest in Ohio.
We’ve seen the success that Rick Perry had in Texas. As he takes the reigns at the Department of Energy, let’s help President-Elect Trump make America great again by doing our part to make America energy independent. Here in Ohio, the General Assembly should continue our positive economic momentum in Ohio by embracing renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a true “all of the above” energy policy.
Tyler M. Duvelius is the state director for the Ohio Christian Coalition.