Brown: Obama's Visit Underscores That Ohio Can Become Silicon Valley of Green Energy Manufacturing

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Today, President-elect Barack Obama toured Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company, a manufacturer of wind turbine components in Bedford Heights, Ohio. Brown, who has been working to position Ohio as the Silicon Valley of renewable energy, issued the following statement in response to Obama’s visit:

“Ohio can become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy,” said Brown. “By building on Ohio’s manufacturing base, we can create good-paying jobs that also reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. I’ve discussed Ohio’s green energy potential with President-elect Obama. I’m glad he’s seen it firsthand today.”

Earlier this month, Brown introduced the The Green Energy Production Act of 2009, legislation that continues Brown’s efforts to create jobs through a thriving renewable energy industry in Ohio.  Brown first introduced the legislation last year after a series of green-energy roundtables across the state. Ohio is home to renewable-energy research and development facilities and projects in the Toledo, Bowling Green, Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, Cleveland, and Akron areas.

The legislation would create green-energy jobs, reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and promote the production of renewable energy by expanding research and development, promoting commercialization of emergency energy technologies, enhancing workforce training opportunities, and helping to establish a national green-energy manufacturing base. A full summary of the legislation can be found below.

In 2007, Brown fought to pass an energy bill to renew Ohio’s manufacturing base through the promotion of alternative energy. The final bill included an amendment authored by Brown that provides grants for the manufacturing of alternative energy components and systems. In addition, the amendment puts pressure on the Department of Energy (DOE) to launch a long-delayed alternative energy loan program and ensure that small manufacturers have access to the funds.

Brown’s Renewable Energy Innovation Manufacturing Partnership amendment provides competitive grants to non-profit institutions and private manufacturers that work together to develop renewable energy manufacturing technologies. These multi-year grants can be used for research, development, and demonstration projects for advanced manufacturing technologies. In addition, private manufacturers can use them to conduct studies of market opportunities for component manufacturing of renewable energy systems.

Since 2000, Ohio has lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs. Seventy-seven of Ohio’s 88 counties have had a loss of manufacturing jobs since 2001, with the remainder experiencing job stagnation. Regions hurt the most by manufacturing job loss also have the most potential to take advantage of supplying the components required by the renewable energy sector.

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