By Mary Reed
Gov. Ted Strickland announced on Monday a $100,000 grant for energy efficiency and renewable energy services work at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
"This grant represents our continued commitment to a prosperous clean energy economy in Ohio," Strickland said, pointing to the Voinovich School's 30-year track record in working with local governments and businesses. "Helping our workers get the skills and training they need to find and keep the new jobs our economy is creating is a cornerstone of our plan to pull Ohio out of this recession."
Specifically, Strickland referred to a new Pew Charitable Trusts ranking placing Ohio in the top five states for clean energy job creation as well as Site Selection magazine's ranking of Ohio as the number one state for renewable and advanced energy manufacturing.
The grant money is one-time discretionary funding Strickland received from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission for serving as state co-chair of the ARC, which kicked off its annual conference Monday at Ohio University.
The funding will be used for technical assistance to local governments and businesses in Appalachian Ohio to help with projects related to advanced and clean energy as well as energy efficiency.
State Rep. Debbie Phillips joined Gov. Strickland at the Voinovich School to present the award. Phillips proposed House Bill 87 in the Ohio State House, which would create the Ohio Energy Resource Center at the Voinovich School.
Citing "a perfect storm of opportunity in Ohio," Phillips said the proposed Ohio Energy Resource Center "will enable us to move forward strategically to make the best possible use of the increasing interest and need for clean and advanced energy research, development and commercialization."
Scott Miller, director of energy and environmental programs at the Voinovich School, was on hand with Voinovich School Director Mark Weinberg to accept the grant from the governor.
"What a great day for southeast Ohio," Miller said, adding that the region is home to most of Ohio's energy production, from coal to hydroelectric to solar. He said even the smallest communities have the capability to adapt to a new energy economy. "As a public institution, we feel compelled to help in any way we can (aid in the) transformation to a cleaner energy future."