Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watching Governor's Energy Fund Closely

In his annual State-of-the-State address yesterday, Governor Ted Strickland announced a new Energy Gateway Fund with a combined $40 million from federal and state funding sources aimed at solar, fuel-cell, energy storage, and wind energy capital investment in Ohio.

The big question is will it fund more installation of these things or will it go to fuel a manufacturing rebirth?

Though there certainly has to be a market for installation of these things for any state to succeed in attracting manufacturing, the true value, for Ohio, in these advanced energy areas is NOT in installation of them.  It's also not in more university-led, state-funded think tanks either.

It takes dollars, lots of them, to land these sought-after manufacturing projects.

In November, Pennsylvania revealed that it had outspent its fellow state competitors, including Ohio, to land a $500,000,000 (that's half a billon) solar module manufacturing plant with high-paying, high-tech jobs.

$40 million might have done it actually.

So, let's watch it closely. 

The measure of success will be in how many of our Ohio neighbors get to make a career working in engineering and producing solar and wind turbine components, not in how many get to work a few manhours while installing them.

No comments:

Post a Comment