Renewable energy as a major opportunity

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/28/2005 - 22:06.

The news on renewables -- particularly biofuels -- is popping all around us.

Here's a good article on renewable fuels in Minnesota. As one participant in the conference noted, "The future is going to be exciting. We're just starting to scratch the surface with renewables." Read more.

In a recent speech to officials in Utah, former President Clinton urged his audience to take the initiative with renewable energy. In a speech earlier this month in Las Vegas, Clinton remarked, "If I were the economic development czar for America today or if I were in charge of economic planning for Las Vegas and Nevada today, I would start by making a complete and total commitment to a clean energy future because I think you can create more jobs there than anywhere else." Read more.

(In response, a group of Nevada leaders have started a new company. Read more.)

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell has suggested a new renewable energy strategy that he calls American Energy Harvest. Read more.

And Indiana Governor Daniels commented at the opening of a new biofuels station in November: "There is no more important economic cylinder than agriculture, and there is no more important part of our agricultural strategy than renewable fuels. We are going to lead the nation in soy diesel." Read more.

( categories: )

Renewables in Ohio

I've been following wind in Ohio, fuel cells, and Phil Lane has brought me up the curve on biofuels. They and other renewable energy portfolio strategies will offer huge economic opportunity in Ohio. But, I don't sense our state-level leadership has been proactive trying to make Ohio a world leader in the field, as has been the case in PA. That must change.

To fully leverage the potential of alternative energy in Ohio, we need to use technology well, develop better technology, and commercialize the technology. To lead in all three pursuits, we need concerted state-wide initiative to make Ohio a world leader in sustainability. Will that happen? I guess the big test will come with the race for Governor.

Clean Energy is the way!

I think this discussion links quite nicely with some earlier posts on Biodiesel in the Environment Forum.  You can find that and some of my relevant comments here.  We have such a great position as a region and a state in several of these technologies- some surveys put us near the top in the nation for both Fuel Cell technology and Wind Power.  The prospects of a wind farm out in the Lake have become much more realistic in recent times - that project would make a signature statement much like a new signature bridge would for our city and region.  And as Ed so eloquently noted, moving to clean energy will translate bottom line to many new and interesting job possibilities and ultimately economic development.

Clean, Renwable energy is not only a great economic development possibility but a necessary move given the state of our ecosystem and planet.  Much debate has ensued over the possibility of 'Peak Oil' where supply (reifined oil) is outpaced by demand and creates price increases that would make alternative energy much more feasible and ultimately necessary.

Though experts are divided on the feasiblity of the scenario above, few can deny it behooves us to continue extensive research and development in renewable energy as a proactive means of preventing possible economic or environmental crises.  China has made a commitment to nuclear power as their clean alternative, it is of note, however since it does mitigate the negative impacts that country has produced to date in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

My preference - and the great opportunity - lies in the truly clean, renewable energies - wind, solar, biofuel, fuel cells.  Norm, I completely agree with your take on State-Level leadership and a disconnect with this region and its potential.  Though there have been some state-support successes (the Wright Fuel Cell Group, for example received considerable state funding from the Third Frontier Program championed by Robert Taft)  there needs to be much more of this. So perhaps we can better inform our state legislature representatives to champion the sustainability opportunity and convince all of the benefits to the entire state in terms of economic development (as well, of course in terms of environmental impact).

Also, commercialization efforts need to be married to intensive research and development efforts.  First the research done in these fields needs to be shared between universities and other research centers so alternative energy technology can be truly optimized and made more cost effective.  The obstacle to this is self interest on the parts of disparate parties which fight for the same funding, rush to be first to patent and profit, or desire acknowledgement as the true leader in the field.  Second, corporations with the capacity to provide necessary components to facilitate renwable energy technology need to be aware of this research and help invest in it to better commercialization possibilities.  They can help fund prototypes and stand to gain new market share and create new jobs if they successfully translate the IP generated by research into marketable products and services.

So continuing groundbreaking collaborative research, successfully partnering university / research centers with corporations, and clearly educating both the public and lawmakers to the  benefits of championing renewable energy all have tremendous potential and need to happen now.

Let's continue the dialogue and move to action on these initiatives! 

Ed is right but he's

Ed is right but he's preaching to the converted.  There are too many inertia-driven sheep in Cleveland to embrace something different.  How can we either (a) get them to jump on the bandwagon or (b) get them forcible--if necessary--moved out of the way. If Cuyahoga Falls can do it (solar panels on Bolich Middle School as an example), Cleveland with 10x as many people (and considerably more resources) surely can!


Derek Arnold

Not preaching to the

Not preaching to the converted...sharing stories that can and should share with others.

The best way to move ahead is to focus on a small number of initiatives. What are they? Make connnections, focus on alignment. Criticize by creating.

What are the top two or three ideas that make the most sense to pursue? The one I would focus on is biofuels.

Using this approach, we moved an idea of biofuels distribution in NEO from conversation to pumping biofuels in five months (Herb Crowther and MidWest Biofuels). It can be done.

Herb needs help with his idea. If you have time, help him out. Let me know if you need his contact information.

We're focused on expanding conversations

I think what Herb and Phil are doing is very cool. I need to get them up here to share their stories, especially if they can use the help of others. I'd also like to hear from them exactly what they see as the opportunities with biofuels in northeast Ohio, and what we as a community need to do to drive positive results. I personally would love to drive a biofuel vehicle but need to know more.

At realneo we're focused on expanding conversations about things like biofuels, and economic development. We see this as a network of first hand knowledge, with purpose. We've seen a nice growth in the amount and quality of content here in the past few months - thanks in certain to you, Ed - and see strong growth in traffic and activity. This growth and other trends with social networking here are positive regional developments to be nurtured and expanded in 2006. Realneo will be right in the center of that. 

I don't want you to stop

I don't want you to stop preaching...I am just critical of some of those in the region that feel that nothing's wrong (CWRU, in particular, did you wrong...there, I said it).  I would support biodiesel ( if I had a car...if/when I do have a car, I would like to get a diesel one to take advantage of this clean fuel), especially here.  It's another way to diversify our economy and that will lead to good things for the region.  Don't think I don't support you, because I do.  I am just mad that more people aren't on board.  

I am more of a dilettante in the realm of economic development.  I strengths/interests center more around IT and education.  I would be of better use getting my hands dirty in those realms...any ideas? 

Derek Arnold