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Report Says Ohio Could Lose $25 Billion If It Waits On Alternative Energy

A solar farm in Shelby, Ohio.
Thomas R Machnitzki
A solar farm in Shelby, Ohio.

A study is urging Ohio leaders and policymakers to support clean and alternative energy before it’s too late. One researcher says there’s a ticking clock on the economic benefit the state could harness.

The report lays out five ways Ohio should embrace clean energy, including attracting clean energy-focused corporations, evolving transportation toward electric vehicles and modernizing the power grid.

If these aspects are implemented, the report says Ohio could tap into $25 billion in future investments.

Asa Hopkins is a researcher with Synapse Energy Economics, which was hired to do the report. He says Ohio must position itself as a pro-clean energy state now as businesses look to develop the next wave of new technology.

“Companies are going to make those decisions on where to make those investments over the next few years, and Ohio will be in the first fight of that or it won’t,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins says Ohio is uniquely positioned because of its existing manufacturing industry.

The conservative Buckeye Institute says that while the green energy industry is evolving and could be a good investment, the state should not pick winners and losers by carving out special policies.

"You don't need government putting their finger on the scales there becuase people will make decisions," says spokesperson Greg Lawson. "They may not make the decisions in a time frame that certain companies and certain special interests want, but it will eventually happen."

Lawson argues that government policies might dole out credits or incentives to companies that already want to invest in clean energy.

However, the state's renewable energy mandates have been at the center of debate, as lawmakers consider weakening green energy standards through HB 114, which passed the House and is being considered in the Senate.