Written By: Mike Lloyd, Extension Educator, Community Development Noble County
An oil and gas boom is certainly underway in Ohio. The introduction of horizontal drilling technology in the Utica/Point Pleasant and the Marcellus Shales in the eastern part of the state has created a level of economic activity in counties including Carroll, Harrison, and Noble that has been unseen since the days when coal was king.
Over one third of all drilling permits issues through October 2013 have been in Carroll County and another third have been issued in Harrison, Columbiana and Noble Counties combined. These four counties thus count for approximately two thirds of all permits issues to date. When looking at the number of wells actually drilled, nearly seventy-five percent are in these four counties. Finally, when looking at the number of wells listed as producing, the percentage creeps even higher to over eighty-one percent for the four counties.
But there is more to the energy picture in Ohio than shale. When looking at electrical generation in the state in 2011, seventy eight percent was produced by coal, eleven percent by nuclear, and a little less than nine percent by gas. If the current environmental crackdown on coal continues, it is likely that these percentages will shift significantly in future years and show less reliance on coal and an increasing percentage moving to gas. 2011 energy production in Ohio showed nearly 700 trillion Btu’s for coal which was more than all other sources combined.
More than fifty percent of U.S. coal production comes from Wyoming and West Virginia with Kentucky (3rd), Pennsylvania (4th), and Ohio (10th) also in the top ten. Much of the region’s production is steam coal used in electrical generation.
Wind energy is growing in the state with nearly $775 million dollars invested in recent years and production increasing from 7.4 megawatts to 428 megawatts, or from enough to power 1,300 homes to more than 100,000 homes. The number of utility-size turbines went from five to 428. Yet in 2012, wind energy amounted to less than one percent of the state’s energy production.
With interest growing in gas, wind, hydropower, biomass and solar, coupled with requirements enacted by the Ohio Legislature in 2008 in S.B. 221 requiring 25 percent of Ohio’s energy to come from advanced sources by 2025, the percentages generated by non-coal sources will grow. Legislation currently being considered (S.B. 58) would retain the broad 25 x 25 mandates, but eliminate the requirement that 50 percent of the advanced energy be generated in the state. The legislative discussion will ensure a healthy debate over the future of energy in Ohio.
Sources: ODNR, U.S. Energy Administration, National Mining Association, Dayton Daily News, Toledo Blade