April 30, 2008
WASHINGTON — Sen. Sherrod Brown sees a green future — green energy.Hoping to capitalize on Ohio’s manufacturing know-how, Brown on Wednesday unveiled a comprehensive energy initiative. Key elements of the bill are the expansion of research and development, enhanced training, the promotion of commercialization and building a green energy manufacturing base.“This is an energy bill. This is a jobs bill. This is an environment bill,” Brown said. “Ohio is already a major force in the alternative energy market. We have the innovators, the manufacturers, and the highly skilled work force. By investing in green technologies, this legislation would empower Ohio to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy.”The state’s manufacturing base has been hit hard. Focusing on green energy manufacturing is a natural fit, Brown said. Since 2000, Ohio has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs. Add to that the effect of rising fuel and food prices and you get a climate ready for finding new ways of doing things, he said.“If we do this right we wean ourselves from foreign oil and we create good jobs,” Brown said.The bill calls for the creation of a Green Energy Technology Investment Program. The goal is to get entrepreneurs, innovators, colleges, schools, nonprofits and other entities that want to turn to green alternatives but don’t have the funds to do so.A green development loan program would aid in the research and development of projects aimed at designing green products. The legislation also calls for programs to help small businesses acquire equipment for green technology development.“The rest of the world is starting to pass us by,” Brown said. The bill “should build on Ohio’s and our country’s great manufacturing history.”The $36 billion proposal would be funded over five years, Brown said. The first-term senator said he’s hoping some of the money to pay for the programs will come from the $18 billion in tax breaks for oil companies.