COLUMBUS — The greener side of Ohio is prospering, and Governor Ted Strickland is convinced the growth will spread to the middle class and those who have lost jobs in the recession if Ohio pushes forward in the green revolution. And he says the state has the ideas and policies to do just that.
Strickland presented his state of the state speech Jan. 26. He acknowledged the success of the state rests on the growth of cities and rural communities.
“I believe in Ohio because we are not sitting back and letting other states pass us by. We are taking the vital next steps to advance our energy economy,” Strickland said.
Strickland said Ohio made a commitment to invest in several industries, including advanced energy and today the investment is beginning to pay off.
The governor gave two examples of how it is paying off. One is the Quasar Energy Group. They are building an anaerobic digester in Franklin County. The facility will keep waste product from farms, food companies and elsewhere out of landfills and transform it into fuel and fertilizer.
A second example is in Shelby County, where Wayne Trail Technologies is creating a better battery for hybrid vehicles.
Both were aided by the jobs bill.
Strickland said the Council of State Governments tallied the total number of green jobs created last year and Ohio ranks first.
He added that in 2007, not one drop of ethanol was produced in Ohio and today four ethanol facilities in Ohio are producing 295 million gallons annually.
Strickland said the future of jobs is in a greener Ohio and he is accomplishing this through the creation of the Energy Gateway Fund. He said the state will make an investment in fuel cells, solar, wind and energy storage with 30 million dollars in federal job stimulus funds and 10 million dollars from the state job stimulus program.
The governor also urged companies drawing up plans to build a biorefinery to consider Ohio.
“Ohio is a soybean state. We are a corn state. We are a logistics state, situated right in the heart of it all. And we are the polymer state,” Strickland said.
He added that all those things make Ohio ideal location for an advanced biorefinery that converts farm output into food, fuel and biopolymers. A plant like this could produce just about any product made from petroleum-based plastic such as toothbrushes, cell phones and even printer cartridges.
Strickland also announced the launching of the Ohio Neighborhood Harvest. It is designed to get Ohio-grown foods onto the dinner tables of Ohio families.
He added Ohioans spend about $43 billion every year on food, but only 3 percent of that spending goes to products from Ohio farms.
This program will improve access to Ohio-grown products, ensure that people in every neighborhood have access to affordable, healthy food, and help boost our rural economies.