COVID-19, Wind Energy and Ohio
In a press conference discussing how Ohio will reopen after the outbreak of COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine called for a “nuanced balance” in order to bring the state’s economy back online. For many, this cannot come soon enough as many are lost in a limbo of doubt as businesses continue to keep their doors closed. Yet, as the world continues to remain on lockdown, Ohio residents continue to rely on electricity to power their lives, and access to affordable and reliable energy is critical to bringing both Ohio’s and the U.S. economy back on track. In this time of uncertainty, taking a step back and examining the role of key energy sources- especially wind energy- in preserving investment, creating jobs, and obtaining a domestically sourced form of energy.
What does this mean for Ohio?
As demand for renewables grows, demand for materials to build wind turbines and solar panels will also grow. Expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9%, the wind turbine materials market is likely to almost double, reaching $19.57 billion by 2026 from $10.76 billion in 2019. Many wind energy supply chain operators look to Ohio for its skilled labor force and manufacturing capabilities. In fact, Ohio boasts the largest number of wind-related manufacturing facilities in the U.S. with over 60 plants. Northeast Ohio, specifically, has very attractive qualities to grow the renewable energy manufacturing industry, which manufacturers welcome with open arms.
Growing development would also promote job growth. Several skilled laborers who are worried about finding work in the wake of this crisis can look to wind energy. Union workers, especially, are strong supporters of wind projects for the jobs they create and guaranteed workflow wind would allow for.
What does this mean for the U.S.?
Growing domestic energy production is one of the greatest benefits of wind energy development. By circumventing reliance on foreign countries, wind would allow the U.S access to reliable electricity produced on its own soil. While wind development faces turbulent times in the wake of the COVID- 19 epidemic, many industries still call for renewables in the wake of the hard-hitting drop in oil demand with the hopes of hindering reliance on volatile oil markets.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, Wind has an annual economic impact of about $20 billion on the U.S. economy. In a time when the future of energy is ever-changing, the importance of investing in an industry that brings several billion dollars back into the U.S. economy is clearer now more than ever. Encouraging Wind Energy development would expand American industrial growth, creating more jobs for a highly-skilled workforce. Wind is poised to promote competition between U.S. and foreign industry, thus Wind development can grow into a lucrative American industry bolstering the U.S. economy.
Where do we stand?
While nobody knows how the outbreak of COVID-19 will impact Ohio’s economy, one thing remains clear: American energy and American industry will be the backbone of economic recovery. In this critical time, Ohio must promote effective and precise measures to overcome this economic struggle and bring the state in a direction of economic prosperity. A vital step to take would accomplish this feat would be to encourage wind development, boosting workforce development and manufacturing industry.