Solar and wind energy can be key components to building a new economy that transitions Central Appalachia to a more just, sustainable and prosperous future. Expanding renewable energy production can save jobs or create new ones, without forcing residents to choose between clean air and good incomes.
The Solar and Wind Energy Supply Chain in Ohio, a recent report from the Environmental Law & Policy Center , highlights Ohio’s success at retooling manufacturing businesses to produce new equipment for the growing clean energy economy. It outlines several factors that have helped Ohio become a leading wind and solar component manufaturer. From the report:
• Supportive Policy – the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard. Ohio has enacted legislation supporting the development of renewable energy in the state, including an Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, wind and solar tax reforms, and a system benefit charge that provides project incentives.
• State Investment in Clean Energy Jobs. The Ohio Energy Gateway Fund is a public-private partnership that will invest $40 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to be matched by two venture capital funds. The goal of the fund is to create jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy sector.
• Established Manufacturing Base and Trained Workforce. Ohio has a strong manufacturing base and trained workforce. Many of these manufacturers and skilled workers are well-suited to meet the demand from the growing renewable energy market.
• Central Location with Proven Transportation and Logistics. Ohio’s manufacturing sector has benefited from its central location and transportation system. Ohio is within 600 miles of 62% of all U.S. and Canadian manufacturing locations. Nearby states’ Renewable Electricity Standards eventually call for close to 40,000 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity over time, positioning Ohio in the middle of a huge market for wind and solar power installations.
• Research Institutions and Higher Education. Ohio is home to numerous institutions that encourage the growth and development of the renewable industry.
With an established and growing supply chain and supportive Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, Ohio is well-positioned to increase installed capacity for both wind and solar generation, and put the state on the path to create even more renewable energy manufacturing, installation and other related jobs. The solar and wind industries mean real jobs and real economic opportunity for Ohio.