WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined representatives from the Pew Charitable Trust and business leaders in Ohio’s clean energy sector to announce findings of a first-of-its-kind report on the clean energy sector and implications for Ohio. Pew’s new report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, charts nationwide clean energy jobs and business development and ranks Ohio in the top five states for clean energy jobs.
“This report confirms Ohio’s position as a leader in clean energy,” Brown said. “Our nation is at a crossroads in terms of our energy needs and our economy. The clean energy sector is about implementing new ideas to create new jobs in new industries, and that’s just what Ohio has been doing. Ohio is harnessing its strengths—our talented workforce and our manufacturing heritage— to find innovative solutions to develop and produce clean energy. I’m encouraged by the progress evidenced in this report, and I am confident that Ohio’s investment in clean energy will invigorate industry, transform our economy, and rebuild our middle class.”
“Ohio’s clean energy sector has been a bright spot in an otherwise difficult economy,” said Tom Bullock, Ohio representative for the Pew Environment Group. “Jobs in Ohio’s clean energy sector grew by more than 7 percent between 1998 and 2007—even as the state lost jobs overall in the same period. Ohio attracted more than $74 million in clean technology venture capital in just the past three years, and it’s been a hub for clean energy research. Those investments—along with its aggressive renewable energy policy—should help Ohio’s clean energy economy continue to grow.”
According to the report, between 1998 and 2007, jobs in Ohio’s clean energy economy grew 7.3 percent while overall jobs declined 2.2 percent in the state. By 2007, however, there were more than 35,250 jobs in Ohio’s clean energy economy almost matching job numbers at Wal-Mart, Ohio’s largest employer. Pew found in that same year, Ohio supported 2,513 clean energy businesses, and in the last three years, Ohio has attracted more than $74 million in clean energy venture capital.
The report also places Ohio as part of a national trend that saw clean energy job growth outpace overall job growth. Across the country, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of 9.1 percent while total jobs grew by only 3.7 percent over the same period. According to Pew, Ohio emerged fourth in country for clean energy job creation out of the 38 states and the District of Columbia that also experienced burgeoning employment in the clean energy sector.
Ohio clean energy economy business leaders were encouraged by Ohio’s leadership in clean energy development.
“MAR Systems is proud to be part of Ohio’s clean technology economy, which is here today – and which is the future for Ohioans,” said Tony Lammers, CEO of MAR Systems LLC. “We are growing and adding staff despite the recession, and we hope to expand our operation at the Akron Accelerator.”
Brown has been an outspoken advocate in Congress to encourage federal investment in the clean energy sector. Brown recently introduced several pieces of legislation that would invest in developing Ohio’s clean energy economy to create new jobs and support new industries. Last month, Brown introduced “The Rubbish to Renewables Act” that would apply the model set by SWACO in Columbus, an organization that is transforming municipal waste into a viable source of clean energy, nationwide. Brown also introduced the Green Energy Production Act to expand clean energy research and development to build a solid clean energy manufacturing base in Ohio. In addition, Brown introduced legislation that would invest in specialized workforce development programs that would provide training for high-tech and clean energy jobs. The “Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Success” (SECTORS) Act of 2009 would support a highly-skilled workforce to promote long-term competitiveness of emerging industries, many of which are in the clean energy field.