Ohio Ballot Initiative Could Create $13 Billion Clean Energy Fund

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Ohio’s attorney general has approved a ballot initiative that, if passed by voters, would create a $13-billion-dollar fund for clean energy projects, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and advanced battery technology projects, across the state.

The “Ohio Clean Energy Initiative” would allow the state to issue up to $1.3 billion per year from 2013 to 2023 to fund energy infrastructure projects and pay for research and development on renewable technologies. $65 million of the annual total would be allocated to the Ohio Energy Initiative Commission for other projects.

If it becomes law, the initiative could instantly create a thriving green economy in Ohio. Funds would be directed to develop sites and facilities for and in support of clean energy industry, commerce, and distribution, as well as research and development to commercialize new technologies and create public-private partnerships.

The group pushing the initiative, Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, estimates that it could create “well over” 300,000 permanent jobs, and would pay for itself over time through increased tax revenue.

While certification by the attorney general is a positive step, many more must be completed in order for the initiative to become law. The Ohio Ballot Board is currently evaluating the measure to determine if it can appear as one issue or if it will require multiple approvals.

Once that issue is resolved, supporters would have to gather more than 385,000 valid signatures of registered voters in order to place it on the November 6 general election ballot. But initiative organizers appear undaunted. “We don’t think we’re going to have any problem getting the signatures to get this through,” said spokeswoman Evonne Richardson.

Source: Columbus Business Journal

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