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How is renewable energy shaping Ohio?

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A wind energy farm in Texas. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A heightened environmental consciousness has lead Ohio to implement or plan to implement wind farms. These wind farms are expected to create jobs and generate clean energy.

Environmental impacts

Overall, Ohio is ranked #22 in the nation for total energy consumed per capita. In addition to this ranking, Ohio is ranked #12 in the nation for total energy production from all sources, both renewable and nonrenewable.

“I strongly support the advancement of more wind farms in the state of Ohio in the appropriate locations,” Greg Kremer, the department chair of mechanical engineering at Ohio U, said.

“There have been good impact studies about how wind is a good resource and how the overall cost and benefits of wind power has proven to be a very good option.”

Since Ohio is a hub of manufacturing, most of the energy produced is nonrenewable. But in order to change this and move toward environmentally-friendly options, wind farms are being built. The wind farms produce about 100 megawatts, which, according to Kremer, is not much when compared to the overall energy demand.

Throughout the state of Ohio, about two percent of all net electricity is from a renewable source. Additionally, about half (one percent overall) of renewable energy in Ohio is wind energy. Kremer said that wind turbines provided eight percent of the United States’ energy capacity as of May of 2017.

Economic impacts

Both long-term and short-term job opportunities are expected to increase with the production of the wind turbines.

Since wind farms have to be manufactured, operate by using technology, are installed and are updated periodically, jobs will continue to be created by and sustained through their development, Kremer said.

In the short term, construction of the wind farms is expected to increase jobs, while more long-term jobs will be created to upkeep and maintain the farms.

Kremer explained that this increase has already been demonstrated with the wind farms that are currently active in Ohio. Some wind farms have been around since 2004 and have led to more jobs being created in order to maintain and run those facilities.

Impacts on campus

While there are no planned wind farms at Ohio University, the effects of the state moving toward environmental sustainability resonate in Athens. Ohio U students and faculty in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs have done research on environmental science, including wind farms, and studied renewable alternatives on campus and air quality in Ohio.

“We want to educate our students to be future leaders in finding energy solutions,” Kremer said.

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