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Advanced energy in reach

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/25/06 @ 9:41am

If we capitalize on what’s already happening around the state, Ohio will get a jump on the advanced energy industry, Richard Stuebi, BP Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement at The Cleveland Foundation, told an audience at Levin College last week.

Advanced energy includes renewable resources like wind and solar, but also clean coal, biofuels and energy efficiency technologies. It will become a multi-billion dollar industry as fossil fuels become scarce or, in the case of oil, are located in places that “don’t like us very much.”

Stuebi likes Ohio’s chances to be a leader in the field because “we’re already doing a fair amount” of research and development. He cites the Wright Fuel Cell Group in Dayton, thin-film solar panel production in Toledo, clean coal advances in southern Ohio, and strong material science as well as manufacturing facilities-work force-supply chain in Northeast Ohio.

“Our manufacturing and work force can be morphed [to develop advanced energy],” Stuebi says. “My job is to work on commercial activity until we’re a leader in at least one segment of the industry.”

Stuebi has been meeting with players in the energy market and corporate leaders to devise a strategy that will help grow the market here. He’s also working with city and county officials to adopt advanced energy policies and increase awareness.

“We’re working to coalesce a regional advanced energy policy,” he says. “We need to answer how we should be using and producing energy to relieve the burden on citizens and industry. I’d like to see Cleveland identified with wind production.”

Citizens can help by losing our sense of entitlement to cheap gas, and instead pumping up the volume on green power. Specifically, we can demand regulatory changes from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that will allow small producers to connect to the grid, and First Energy to offer green energy at a premium. (Bowling Green developed its wind turbine farm from selling bonds and with proceeds from customers paying a premium for green energy).

“Think about where you want to live in a $8 to $10 per gallon of gas world. And then demand better energy policy.”

To learn more about advanced energy development in Northeast Ohio, and reforming energy policy, go here.

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