Poll reveals support for Ohio clean energy initiative
A new poll conducted in Ohio has revealed citizens of the state overwhelmingly support the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to enact a constitutional amendment that would provide $1.3 billion a year for Ohio to invest in clean energy technologies and infrastructure. The initiative would create at least 300,000 jobs in the state. The poll, conducted for Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future by Public Policy Polling, found that 64 percent of those polled said they are likely to vote for the initiative.
The initiative, which is backed by Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, needs 385,247 signatures by July 4 to get the measure on the November ballot.
If enacted as a constitutional amendment, the initiative would provide for $1.3 billion in funding each year for 10 years in comprehensive array of areas, including clean energy industries and energy-related public infrastructure projects in biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, smart grid, and other technologies. The initiative would be funded through the issuance of general obligation bonds by the State of Ohio.
Information published to the initiative’s website specifies that approximately 30,000 jobs are expected to be created for each $100 million in investment. In addition, Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future noted that state spending on the initiative will be repaid through the increased tax revenue it creates. In fact, the organization projects that the initiative will make money for Ohio as the amount of taxable capital and business attracted to the state will be five to 10 times larger than the state’s long term investment.
According to information released by Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, the funding would support research and development actives, academic and educational development, and vocational training support. Eligible applications for the funding would include individuals, companies, nonprofits, municipalities, and state agencies.
The Ohio Clean Energy Initiative mirrors the Ohio Third Frontier program, which has proven enormously successful in creating jobs. Established in 2002, the program creased an estimated 55,000 jobs and generated an overall return on investment of 9:1.
The PPP poll found that 45 percent of respondents indicated they are very likely to support legislation that allows Ohio to investment in clean energy technologies. An additional 26 percent indicated they are somewhat likely to support such a measure.
More than half, 55 percent, said they have heard of the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative. When asked specifically if they would support the initiative, 38 percent of respondents said they were very likely to support it, with a respective 26 percent and 7 percent indicating they were somewhat likely or unsure. Only 29 percent said they were not too likely or not likely at all to support it.
When asked to select the initiative that represents the most import issue to them, 50 percent of respondents selected an initiative to create more than 300,000 jobs, while 16 percent said an initiative that promotes clean energy was most important.
When broken down by gender, the results show women were more likely to support state investment in clean energy, with 49 percent and 27 percent respectively indicating they were very likely or somewhat likely to support the investment. Only 40 percent of men were very likely and 24 percent somewhat likely to support state investment in clean energy. More women had also heard of the initiative.
According to the poll, 41 percent of women said they are very likely to support the initiative, with 27 percent indicating they are somewhat likely to support it. Only 35 percent of men said they were very likely to support it and 24 percent indicating they are somewhat likely to support it.
Democrats were more likely to support investment in clean energy, with 59 percent responding that they were very likely to support it and 24 indicating they are somewhat likely to support it. Only 31 percent and 29 percent of republicans said they were very likely or somewhat likely to support such an investment.
While the initiative still has to make it onto the ballet and be passed into law before it takes effect, the Ohio Energy Initiative Commission will begin accepting a limited number of early project proposals in January as part of the Fast Start Program. Funding for the Fast Start Program is limited to one quarter of the annual budget. Early project proposals may be placed on a prioritized list for early funding, but actual funding of the projects is contingent on passage of the initiative.