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White Papers 

Beyond Shale: Building Resilience in Ohio's Workforce (December 2016)

Since 2012, Ohio has experienced a significant boom in production in its oil and gas industry. Due to advancements in oil and gas drilling technology, the previously difficult-to-explore Marcellus and Utica shale plays are now being exploited throughout eastern Ohio. Despite a fairly recent boom, however, the industry experienced an even more recent downturn when crude oil prices started declining in July 2014 due to various forces, including an overproduction-induced glut in the market. This downturn has raised questions about the economic sustainability of the oil and gas industry in Ohio. Is this classic boom-and-bust scenario unavoidable, or can innovative policy measures build resilience in the industry, and thus reliable opportunities for the local workforce? This white paper explores the current state of workforce development in Ohio related to oil and gas and proposes that by leveraging current workforce programs, the region has a chance to build a workforce skilled in both industry-specific and non-oil and -gas reliant occupations. Click here to read the white paper.
 

Baseline Environmental Data Collection at Ohio University Eastern Campus and Dysart Woods in Belmont County, Ohio (May 2016)

The trend in energy production to natural gas and away from legacy fuels like coal is part of a wholesale shift in America’s energy production that has rippling effects globally and locally in Appalachia. Shale gas development is a fast-growing industry within the region’s Marcellus and Utica shale formations, which also encompass Ohio University properties in Belmont County. In order to quantify environmental and economic impacts of shale gas exploration and production, baseline environmental conditions were documented by researchers with Ohio University’s Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment (CE3).  This report, funded by the Ohio University Board of Trustees, assessed the baseline water quality, air quality and ecological conditions in and around Ohio University’s Eastern Campus and the Dysart Woods National Landmark. These baseline assessments provide a snapshot in time against which future assessments can be measured. Click here to read the white paper.
 

Establishing an Appalachian Regional Energy Cluster (Feb 2016)

A cluster is a regional concentration of related industries in a particular location. Clusters are a striking feature of economies, making regions uniquely competitive for jobs and private investment. They consist of companies, suppliers, and service providers, as well as government agencies and other institutions that provide specialized training and education, information, research, and technical support.  This white paper provides an overview of business (industry) clusters and discusses why the establishment of an Appalachian Regional Energy Cluster is considered to be a prerequisite for enhancing the viability of locating an Integrated Energy System (IES) at the U.S. Department of Energy PORTS site near Piketon, Ohio. For more information about the work the Voinovich School and CE3 are conducting related to potential future uses of the PORTS site, visit: www.portsfuture.com. Click here to read the white paper.

About the author:  Dr. Benjamin J. Cross is an Executive in Residence at the Voinovich School and has been involved in a broad range of energy-related work activities for the past three decades. He is the founder of NuSynergy Energy, LLC, and previously worked with the DOE Savannah River Site and as a senior advisor for the Clean Energy Directorate at the Savannah River National Laboratory. Additionally, Dr. Cross has provided strategic and technical support to DOE-Portsmouth Site’s repurposing efforts and to the Federal Southeast Regional Group for Energy Security/Sustainability.
 

Energy Sector Opportunities for the PORTS Campus (Dec 2014)

The U.S. Department of Energy former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) near Piketon, Ohio has been an important regional economic player for decades. Through a grant from the US DOE Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office, the Voinovich School’s contributions to PORTS site repurposing efforts build upon findings from the School’s PORTSfuture public outreach task completed in 2011. Based upon community preferences, site repurposing activities are focusing on integrating the results of the public preference voting with the overall plan for the future of the site. The Voinovich School is part of a collaborative team engaged in a data-driven process to identify viable industries to target for site reuse and identify marketing tools aimed at potential future users at PORTS. Energy sector opportunities for regional economic development are explored in a white paper authored by Michael Zimmer, Energy Executive-in-Residence. Click here to read the white paper.
 

The Geopolitical Implications of U.S. Shale as a Global Resource (Oct 2013)

The past decade has seen substantial change in the U.S. natural gas and oil industry. Since 2000, rapid growth in the production of natural gas, oil and liquids from shale formations in North America has dramatically altered the national and global energy market landscape. Shale energy is providing national economic and security benefits as the U.S. has raced to become the second largest global energy supplier, with the U.S. is expected to emerge as the largest producer of oil and gas this year surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. Shale gas will continue to magnify the importance of geography in the U.S. and global markets and relationships. Click here to read the white paper.
 

Checking In on the Future of Wind Energy (Mar 2013)

Wind energy in the U.S. represents an energy, economic and environmental miracle of development over the past decade. In the face of an entrenched national framework to preserve a dominant fossil energy industry, total wind energy capacity continues to grow. Yet these shifts in the way that energy and power demand is planned for and regulated must also consider the cost competitiveness of renewables when compared to the full externalities of fossil fuels. A more sustained—stable yet dynamic—public policy framework that focuses on incentives, rules and efficient access to capital in the coming decade will create an environment for wind and other forms of renewable energy to succeed. Click here to read the white paper.
 

Energy Efficiency in Ohio: The Deal of the Century (Feb 2013)

Energy efficiency must play a bigger role in the near future to mitigate the tens of trillions of dollars that will be required to 1) reduce CO2 and other air emissions; 2) build new generation to meet skyrocketing demand; and, 3) minimize other air and water resource challenges while at the same time addressing quality of life, economic growth and public health. Energy efficiency provides electricity and service at a lesser cost, and is more timely, more responsive and more reliable. Every company and household can and should participate in energy efficiency initiatives in Ohio to help their own bottom line and the State's energy future. Click here to read the white paper.