NORTH BALTIMORE, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) touted the work of the Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative in its efforts to meet Northwest Ohio’s energy needs and create jobs for the region. Brown, who was a featured speaker at the Hancock-Wood Legislative Breakfast, also called for the passage of a five-year farm bill.
“The Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative is vital to ensuring Northwest Ohio and rural communities meet their energy needs so they can promote job growth,” said Brown. “Energy independence is an economic development priority I look forward to continuing to work alongside the Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative to ensure that rural Ohio has the energy infrastructure to support manufacturing and agriculture while attracting new businesses.”
Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative is a nonprofit, member-owned electric utility serving 12,900 consumers in 10 northwest Ohio counties, including Allen, Erie, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood and Wyandot. Hancock-Wood was founded in 1938 to provide electricity to the immediate rural area, and expanded into other northwest Ohio counties over the years. It is a member of the Buckeye Power, Inc. (BPI) of which all Ohio’s 24 electric distribution cooperatives serving members get their electricity from.
Brown, who serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth, and Energy Innovation, is the first Ohioan on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years and discussed at the luncheon a wide range of energy issues which affect Northwest Ohio, the state, and country:
- Brown echoed President Obama’s challenge to the country that it controls its own energy future by cutting in half the energy wasted by homes and businesses over the next 20 years, noting that oil imports are at a 25 year low, fuel efficiency is at an all-time high, domestic production of natural gas is booming, and investments in combined heat and power, solar, and hydro power are soaring.
- Brown reaffirmed his stance that the state and nation does not have to choose between creating jobs and protecting the environment, citing the Cardinal Plant in Brilliant as one of the cleanest coal-fired plants in the world because of the investments made by Ohio’s energy cooperatives like Hancock-Wood.
- All BPI owned coal-fired generating plants will be equipped with state-of-the-art environmental controls by early 2013. The total BPI investment on environmental and related projects from 2002-2013 will be $1.26 billion
- Brown made the case that rural Ohio can promote job creation by strengthening its energy infrastructure like improving its energy grid to attract new businesses. He shared success stories like the new wind farm in Van Wert County and the new solar installation in Napoleon whose panels were made in Williams County.
Brown has long been a champion for rural Ohio and ensuring it meets its energy needs. In September 2012 he won the Growth Energy’s “Fueling Growth” Award which is presented to legislators dedicated to fostering innovation and growth in all domestic energy sectors, including biofuels and other farm-based renewable energy sources.