Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Green = $$$

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are right for South Carolina and coal plants are wrong.

Forget for a moment the environmental issues.

Clean energy is better business. Read up on the growing "Green Tech" industry here.

See below for a recent opinion on the potential for job creation in Ohio from a committment to clean energy (as opposed to coal).

The same is true here in South Carolina.

In our state about 75% of our electricity consumption is sourced from coal (in Ohio the figure is 90%). As the recent woes on Wall Street remind us from time to time, it is NOT smart to keep all your eggs in one basket.

Ohio, like South Carolina, has been bleeding high-paying manufacturing jobs for years now. Fortunately, like Ohio, South Carolina stands to gain big time from an economy focused on clean energy.

Witness GE in the upstate which continues to add hundreds of jobs per year just to keep up with the demand for wind turbines.

Or check out this study indicating 20,000 manufacturing jobs could be had in our state in the solar and wind manufaturing business.

Santee Cooper's multi-billon dollar coal plant will create less than 100 jobs and increase substantially our dependence on coal.

One often hears that a committment to clean energy would increase electricity rates in our state (already some of the lowest in the nation). Study after study shows that renewable energy would increase electric rates only slightly -- if at all. Ohio has studied it and reached that conclusion.

A small price to pay for thousands of jobs, and a healthier environment.

Green energy = jobs And it won't harm Ohio's coal industry
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Richard Stuebi
Cleveland Plain Dealer

You may have seen billboards cropping up around town showing an electrical cord plugged into a lump of coal. They suggest that coal mining and coal-based electricity
generation is essential for creating or preserving jobs in Ohio.

Similarly, advertisements in The Plain Dealer and other publications ask the question: "Green-collar jobs might sound good to some people, but what does that mean for Ohio jobs . . . what does it mean for your job?"

This media blitz is sponsored by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, an organization funded by coal interests. It presents one side of the debate over the future of our state economy, implying that a continued dependence upon coal in Ohio's energy mix is the best path for our state's economic health.

On the other side are those who see the need to build an advanced energy economy more reliant on energy efficiency and renewable technologies. They believe advanced energy not only will meet our power needs while better addressing environmental concerns, but also will spawn many thousands of green-collar jobs to manufacture and install wind, solar and other advanced energy sources.

The old-liners are skeptical. Advanced energy represents a threat to their livelihood, and they want you to believe it will cause energy prices to rise dramatically, forcing
companies to lay off employees or go out of business.

We at the Cleveland Foundation have studied these issues at length and have concluded that a concerted move to advanced energy in Ohio would not cause undue
economic harm. In fact, the economic benefits would far outweigh the costs.

A study we commissioned last year confirmed that public policy to promote advanced energy in Ohio would cause, at most, miniscule increases in electricity prices 10 years from now and would not materially harm our coal industry.

We are not against coal. Coal has been a backbone of our electricity sector - and, therefore, our heavy industry and consumer society - for decades. Almost 90 percent of the electricity generated in Ohio comes from coal, and that's not going to change overnight. In almost any scenario, environmentally responsible mining and utilization of coal will be essential for a long time.

But consider this: Would you want 90 percent of your financial assets in one investment? Not if you're prudent.

So, ask yourself: Do we really want 90 percent of our electricity to come from one source? Especially when coal-fired power generation is almost certainly going to face adverse economic consequences when the next president signs legislation to reduce carbon emissions?

Let's not allow ourselves to mortgage the future of Ohio, continuing to rely too much on a single type of fuel for our electricity needs to protect jobs that are increasingly
vulnerable and may not be savable.

Instead, Ohio needs to create new employment opportunities - green-collar jobs associated with advanced energy - to replenish the blue-collar jobs that are going away.

If you care about the possibilities and the future, not only for you, but also for your children and grandchildren, encourage your elected officials to push aggressively for policies favoring advanced energy. It's the right thing to do for the economy as well as for the environment.

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