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Report Unveils Vision of Prosperous Energy Future for Ohio

Researchers say some policy provisions are making it difficult for Ohio to embrace clean energy opportunities. (Pixabay)
Researchers say some policy provisions are making it difficult for Ohio to embrace clean energy opportunities. (Pixabay)
May 30, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new report paints a picture of what a prosperous energy future could mean for the Buckeye State.

The research released Tuesday was drawn from the insight and experiences of leaders in the areas of business, politics, labor, education and research.

The Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University contributed to the report, and director Grant Goodrich says some of Ohio's largest companies such as General Motors and Owens Corning already are investing in solar, wind and other renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

"That's really impressive to see the leadership that our big companies are taking to drive towards a clean energy future, and that has a lot of implications for Ohio and certainly something very prominent in this report," he states.

The report predicts that energy innovation could create more than 20,000 jobs in the state, as well as $25 billion in investment.

But Goodrich says a successful transformation of Ohio's energy economy depends on investment from corporate energy leaders, clean electricity generation, increased energy productivity, a smart, connected grid and transportation transformation.

Goodrich says there are policy provisions that are making it harder for Ohio to embrace clean energy opportunities that otherwise might be available.

"Right now, Ohio has relatively restrictive setbacks for the siting of wind farms,” he points out. “Because of that a lot of places, where even though the wind is suitable for a wind farm, the siting setbacks are so restrictive that the wind turbines can't be put up there."

While Ohio already is an automotive manufacturing leader, the report suggests the state could be left behind if it does not embrace a connected and electrified future.

By continuing the status quo, Goodrich says the industry stands to lose $6 billion in capital investment and more than 9,000 jobs by 2030.

"That was eye-popping in the report,” he states. “This idea of replacing traditional fossil fuel automotive manufacturing jobs with EV automotive jobs is really important to employment figures for Ohio and jobs for everyday Ohioans."

Goodrich adds that a follow-up report will be released in a couple of months that will outline actions Ohio leaders can take to make the vision for a prosperous energy economy a reality.

Mary Kuhlman/Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OH