Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ohio Must Diversify Energy, Faster To Stay Competitive

Two news articles from today's Dayton Daily News together make a pretty clear case for the economic need for Ohio to diversity its energy portfolio, faster. The first, entitled, "Global Warming's Impact Grows," explains some dire facts about Ohio:
  • 90 percent of Ohio's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.

  • Nationwide, Ohio ranks fifth in overall energy consumption. [We're 7th in terms of population.]

  • Ohioans use more than 57 million tons of coal a year (largely for electricity).

  • Ohio ranks fourth overall when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that contribute to global warming.
  • We ALREADY have 21 coal-fired power plants belching out 126 million tons of global-warming related emissions
From the second, "Without Diversifying, Consequences Loom"
  • Over the past two decades, Ohio has invested more than $175 million in trying to make coal cleaner [but AMP insists that some of the most promising technologies are "unreliable" and insists it cannot in any way slow its plans for this plant for the technology to catch up]

  • Even with absolutely no state incentives for renewables, a study unveiled at a national solar conference in Cleveland in July showed Ohio has 500,000 direct and indirect jobs tied to the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

  • That study predicts 1.2 million jobs in those sectors by 2030 if public policy changes favorable to renewables are embraced.

  • Even Republican Dave Hobson, having visited Greenland with Democratic congresspersons this summer, is now "adamant about the need to address global warming immediately," saying: "This is a problem for the day, and it's an even bigger problem for the future," Hobson said. "We should not leave it to the future to solve. We need to start down this path."

  • While our coal-rooted and friendly governor downplays the number of jobs that renewables could create, he admits that we need an assortment of energy — renewables, nuclear plants, and coal. Failing to diversify Ohio's energy portfolio could have dire consequences: "Ohio will be perceived as a status quo state," he said. "We will have lost the opportunity to create new industries and new jobs, and we will have seriously damaged Ohio's future. I think we've already lost potential investment and jobs for not having an energy standard."
The only thing that will make our leaders live up to their own awareness of just how dire our situation is, is pressure from "we, the people." We must start in our own backyards.

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