Remember how just last week, John Kasich attacked the notion of a renewable energy mandate as a jobs killer?

Why don’t you take it from there Cleveland Plain Dealer:

In a joint news conference with Gov. Ted Strickland, American Electric Power CEO Michael Morris said AEP is partnering with a developer to build a 50 million-watt solar field on 500 acres in southeast Ohio that was once a strip mine.

"The future has recognized Ohio," Strickland said in brief remarks.

The project will power 25,000 homes, when the sun in shining, and will cost about $250 million.

Turning Point Solar is planned for acreage adjacent to The Wilds, a wildlife conservation center, will be the largest east of the Rocky Mountains.

AEP will buy all of the power, meeting new state benchmarks through 2019 that a portion of the power it sells be made with renewable technologies.

The project will require more than 239,000 solar panels — made in a new Ohio factory by Isofoton, one of two Spanish companies that has agreed to put their North American headquarters in the state.

The other is Prius Energy S.L., a company that will manufacture the hardware and the system to allow the solar arrays to track the sun, increasing its efficiency.

Strickland last week signed an executive order eliminating Ohio’s tangible personal property tax and real property tax for advanced and renewable energy project facilities.

In the midst of one of the worst economic slumps since the Great Depression, Governor Strickland has positioned Ohio to transform its economy to be one based on emerging 21st Century technology.  But because Strickland doesn’t throw out wild-haired schemes, he’s criticized by the media as being, well, too pragmatic.

In the Governor’s press release he talks about that while mentioning how the local colleges will be training students for green collar jobs such as those needed for this plant and others:

"We recognized the future when we established our state’s aggressive renewable portfolio standard, invested in the energy industry and eliminated taxes for new energy facilities to create jobs and grow Ohio’s advanced energy industry," said Strickland.  "Today, the future has recognized Ohio.  One of the largest solar farms in the nation is going to be built here in Ohio, with solar panels and solar trackers made in Ohio, built by Ohioans with the know-how taught in Ohio colleges."

Ohioans had Republican economic snake oil salesmen for sixteen years before Ted Strickland.  We were promised that electricity deregulation, wide-scale privatization, and tort reform would make Ohio an economic leader.  Seems to me that Democratic pragmatism, which itself is revolutionizing Ohio’s energy and economy, has already shown better results.  That’s what the Enquirer and the Plain Dealer misunderstood about this race.  They confused recklessness with boldness and confused pragmatism with a lack of vision for change.

John Kasich doesn’t get it, either.  He doesn’t get that there are jobs to be created in renewable energy in Ohio.  That for every solar farm in Ohio that is built is a demand for thousands of solar panels that are made in Ohio.  That wind turbines can be made from components in Hamilton from steel forged in Middletown and Youngstown.  He’d rather just get rid of half the State’s budget and hope that we get a better result than Nevada and Florida is getting by not having a state income tax.  And that creating renewable energy here in Ohio is a great thing for our economy, and yes, to attract businesses to move here.

Then again, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Dennis Spisak will criticize Strickland for not building the biggest solar farm in the nation.  However, I personally like the symbolism of an old coal strip mine being turned into a solar farm—linking the Old Ohio to the energy economy of the New Ohio.

Evangelize!
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  • Dennis Spisak

    Why Not Feed-In Tariffs to fuel the demand of solar panels here in the Buckeye State? This plant is a step in the right direction, but we need to increase the use of homeowners and small businesses using Feed-In Tariffs to produce clean extra green energy that can be sold back to the grid.

  • Anonymous

    We obviously can’t answer that question. But I agree that a serious look at feed-in tariffs is the next step to promote green energy in Ohio. Strickland has also supported changes to Ohio’s township laws to create special taxing districts that provide tax incentive financing for residential wind and solar projects, though. Again, a significant step to promote renewable energy that got virtually no attention from the prior GOP Administrations.

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