A new energy innovation plan that emphasizes electric vehicles, solar, and energy efficiency could bring 20,000 jobs and US$25 billion in new investment to the state of Ohio, according to a report released last week.
“Investing in smarter, cleaner, and more energy is simply good business,” said Asa Hopkins, principal associate at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics, the firm that conducted the primary research for the Powering Ohio report with funding from the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund. “We’re working to prove that sustainable initiatives are not only good for the environment, but for our residents, our infrastructure, and our shared prosperity,” added Smart Columbus Director Jordan Davis.
The report concludes that “nearly half of the new jobs would be in transportation, where Ohio, already a leader in auto manufacturing, could play key roles in making electric vehicles, particularly their engines and transmissions,” the Columbus Dispatch reports. “And 10,500 jobs could be created through investments in wind and solar power along with energy efficiency.”
A second-phase report, expected this summer, will translate the broad conclusions of the initial study into more specific plans, the paper notes.
Columbus has already won $50 million in grants from the Smart City Challenge, a program that focuses in part on energy efficiency and EV development. But Grant Goodrich, Great Lakes director at Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Energy Institute, said successful implementation of the Powering Ohio plan will depend on state-level support.
“Ohio is blessed with a highly productive work force, a strong manufacturing presence with robust supply chains, and innovative companies in the energy and tech sectors,” he said. “But in order to secure future investments in clean energy, or from Fortune 500 companies with renewable energy mandates, Ohio will have to demonstrate a commitment to creating an environment where clean energy technology is welcomed and thrives.”