energy would create good jobs, study says
impact on Ohio, 9 other states
| Updating the Midwests industries and homes with
energy-efficient or alternative technologies would create
thousands of high-paying jobs during the next 20 years,
a new study suggests.
University of Illinois
researchers examined the potential impact if 10 Midwestern
states, including Ohio, adopted cleaner energy sources
development critics long have maintained would
cost jobs and be too expensive.
But the Job
Jolt report, released Monday by the Environmental
Law & Policy Center, concluded that investing in energy-efficient
machinery, solar and wind power and biomass energy would
create more than 200,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in additional
Although jobs would
be lost in such a transition during the next two decades,
more new ones would be created in the 10 states than would
be eliminated, the report said.
jobs . . . would be almost twice the total employment
in the Midwest electric utility industry,
according to the study.
nonprofit policy and advocacy group sought the analysis
to examine the result of its recommendations that states
with coal-fired or nuclear power plants adopt cleaner
The study attempted
to predict the results of the gradual reduction of reliance
on those old technologies which account for 95
percent of the 10-state regions electricity generation
by adding modern clean-energy technologies.
an environmental business specialist with the Environmental
Law & Policy Center, said that besides solar and wind
power, biomass energy holds the potential for reducing
the reliance on fossil fuels. For example, switchgrass,
a perennial grass with the same heating value as coal,
could be burned with coal to reduce demand for fossil
Kubert said renewable
energy sources have been held back by cheap coal power
and the absence of consistent tax incentives for solar
and wind power. Low energy prices also have discouraged
the pursuit of cleaner technologies, he said.
Consumers also have
played a role in keeping the status quo by not seeking
out the most energy-efficient of products, he said. For
example, a homeowner buying a new clothes dryer sometimes
buys one of the cheapest models, rejecting more expensive
dryers that actually cost less to operate in the long
run because they use less electricity.
primary effect of using energy efficient appliances besides
the fact that people will be buying less electricity is
the opportunity for that money to be spent in the state
on something else, Kubert said.
By 2020, the report
found that Indiana would amass 15,500 new jobs and increase
economic output by $1.2 billion per year. The job gains
would be despite a net loss of about 6,000 jobs in the
states utility sector cut because of a predicted
decline in power demand, Kubert said.
Judith Ripley, a
commissioner with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission,
said the commission has contracted with Purdue Universitys
State Utility Forecasting Group to assess the potential
of renewable resources in Indiana.
The state also is
using a federal grant to produce an updated map of the
states windiest spots, those most suitable for wind
turbines that have grown more efficient because of technological
technology is better now so it doesnt take as much
wind to make them viable, she said.
The new study was
done by the University of Illinois Regional Economics
Applications Laboratory using economic modeling techniques.
The Joyce Foundation,
a philanthropic group that supports efforts to protect
the Great Lakes states environment paid for the
Besides Ohio, the
10 states examined by the study were Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South
Dakota and Wisconsin.