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Despite Recession and Conservative Opposition, States Putting People Back To Work in Green Economy

 

Thanks to a bill introduced by State Representative Mike Foley, Ohio will go ahead with a popular program that supports renewable and advanced energy projects. The program, the Advanced Energy Fund, was set to expire by the end of this year but was extended for an additional three years. The Fund uses grants, contracts, loans, linked deposits, and production incentives to encourage and develop a green energy economy.

Despite opposition from conservatives, who after the mid-term elections will take over the Ohio House, the legislature voted for a program that has served Ohioans since its inception.   For instance, monies from the fund have created two large-scale wind farms that will bring electricity to 45,000 Ohioans and that have created in-state jobs in manufacturing and installation. The Fund complements the state’s renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards for driving demand for clean energy. Ohio is one of the 29 states that requires that a percentage of their electricity originate from renewable energy. Of the 18 states that have both renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards in place, 11 of them (61 percent) have more jobs in the clean energy economy than the national average.  Similarly, in 12 of those 18 states, clean energy jobs made up a larger share of all jobs when compared to the US average.

The green economy is our opportunity to put Americans back to work: it creates jobs that pay prevailing wages and cannot be outsourced. This is our chance to set our nation on a path to energy independence and create a new era of American innovation, manufacturing, and leadership. With the extension of the Advanced Energy Fund, Ohio is giving incentives to entrepreneurs to develop and manufacture clean, safe forms of energy like wind and solar, and create jobs that last and that remain in America.

HB 301 also creates the public benefits advisory board to ensure that energy services be provided to low-income consumers.  The Board is charged with making recommendations in the administration of the universal service fund and low-income customer assistance programs as well as the advanced energy program and fund.

Ohio joins the dozens of states that have averted the release of approximately 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution in 2009.  By requiring utilities to invest in renewable energy, states are establishing policies that level the playing field for clean energy sources to compete with traditional fossil fuels.


This article is part of PSN's email newsletter, The Stateside Dispatch.
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