The Power of Money

Five Great Lakes governors have delivered their annual State of the State Address so far.

Three of them announced major plans to rebuild their economies with the booming industry of energy innovation.

Two backed up their words with money.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is staring down a projected $700 million shortfall. Still he announced a plan to invest $250 million in advanced and renewable energies, including solar, wind, and clean coal.

"We have a base of manufacturers and expertise in Ohio that, if supported, can lead the nation," Gov. Strickland said.

In an effort to make his state the "world leader in renewable energy and homegrown power," Gov. Jim Doyle used his annual speech to launch the Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund. He announced a $150 million investment over 10 years to "help our businesses, our farmers, our foresters, and our manufacturers produce and promote renewable energy." The plan also calls for an additional $95 million over the next 18 months to promote energy efficiency.

"Our addiction to foreign oil is compromising our national security, paralyzing our economy, and melting the polar ice caps," the governor said. "We should depend more on the Midwest and less on the Mideast."

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm also said her state, too, has all the right stuff to seize the lucrative energy economy. Worldclass manufacturing capacity. Skilled workers. And globally connected shipping lanes. She urged the state Legislature to pass a policy requiring 10 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015.

Yet despite announcing a $1 billion infrastructure improvement campaign, she stopped short of telling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and citizens how much funding her adminstration would commit to the new energy economy.

"If we do this right," Gov. Granholm said, "Michigan can be the alternative energy capital of North America, and create thousands and thousands of jobs."