Ohio Governor Ted Strickland earlier this week unveiled an 8-point strategic initiative to diversify his state's energy portfolio with renewable power, generate tens of thousands of jobs, and modernize Ohio's economy for the 21st century.
Perhaps the most important feature of the Governor's plan would require utilities to generate 25 percent of Ohio's electricity from "advanced energy" sources by 2025. Advanced energy sources presumably would include wind, grass, and solar as well as so-called clean coal and nuclear.
Regardless, twenty four states in the Union - including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York - already have set similiar goals.
In his announcement, the governor took direct aim at critics who say promoting alternative energy sources in the Midwest will kill jobs, raise electrical rates, and slow economic growth. Here are excerpts from his remarks:
"Our energy policy is not simply a matter of what we stand to lose. It is a matter of what we stand to gain – jobs. Energy can be a catalyst for new jobs, bringing forth a new day, a new economy, a new Ohio.
An economic analysis by the Apollo Alliance found that an expanded use of renewable energy would provide Ohio more than 20,000 new manufacturing jobs building the products necessary to harvest the energy of the wind, sun, water and other renewable resources. And that represents only a fraction of the potential jobs to be gained in the research and operation of not only renewable but other advanced energy options.
Advanced energy offers the promise of high paying jobs – jobs that would take advantage of Ohio’s strengths in manufacturing, our location, and our workforce. And all the while we will help power our economy with cleaner fuels and take control of our energy destiny.We now face a choice.
We can embrace unchecked monopolies presented under the guise of a deregulated marketplace, a false marketplace that would stifle our economy, and leave to chance the development of innovation.
Or we can embrace a carefully crafted hybrid approach that recognizes how we generate, distribute, and price electricity affects every one of us every day, and acknowledges that maintaining an adequate supply of electricity is a fundamental responsibility of our state government.
Cynics might say that our best days are behind us. But they are wrong. Energy can be the key to our economic renaissance."
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