Note from Editor Amelia Robinson: This is a column submitted by a candidate who is running for office. Its publication does not constitute an endorsement by the editorial board of the Dispatch of the opinions expressed.
Rebecca Mellino missed the mark in her critique of Ohio’s energy portfolio in her march 23 guest columns.
Mellino’s is using Intel’s recent announcement to make the case for incentivizing the generation of (and reliance on) renewable energy in Ohio, while ignoring the enormous benefits of natural gas for consumers in Ohio. Ohio, the environment and job growth.
The argument is deaf to the need for reliable base-load power as Ohioans watch energy costs soar and prices at the pump rise.
We have also seen the harsh reality unfold in Europe, as Vladimir Putin wages an unjust and illegal war in Ukraine.
When green-at-all-costs advocates in Europe cut nuclear and fossil power generation years ago, regardless of their own baseload needs, they found themselves beholden to Putin for oil and gas. natural gas.
We cannot afford to fall victim to their same fate.
I applaud Intel’s announcement of a first investment of 20 billion dollars, putting Lecher County at the epicenter of a new The heart of siliconand Ohio at the forefront of reducing our dependence on China and other countries for semiconductors, which are vital to both our national security and our economy.
I also support Intel’s decision to set targets for renewable generation. This is ambitious, but also acknowledges a reality overlooked by many – that renewable energy is insufficient and that blindly flipping the switch would increase – not decrease – our reliance on bad actors.
China supplies many key solar panel components, including more than 80% of the world’s polysilicon, a raw material that most solar panels use to absorb energy from the sun. In 2019, less than 5% of the world’s polysilicon came from American companies.
We have a long way to go.
If the United States wants to be competitive in renewable energy, we need to bring essential production home, not increase investment in Chinese technology.
That’s just one reason Intel’s announcement is so profound – it’s a crucial step in reclaiming American manufacturing leadership on the world stage, albeit in semiconductors, not in the solar panels. Reclaiming US manufacturing leadership in one area – only to sacrifice it in another – is counterproductive.
More will surely follow, but the reality is that going fully renewable isn’t ready for prime time. That’s why I favor a holistic approach to meeting the power generation needs of Ohio’s growing economy. That includes both renewable energy and natural gas, which is clean, affordable, and plentiful — and it’s right here in Ohio.
By setting reasonable long-term goals, companies like Intel give themselves the flexibility to meet their initial energy needs while working towards a responsible transition to renewable energy.
Transition is the key word.
As renewable technologies continue to develop, Ohio is uniquely positioned as a leader with an abundant supply of natural gas.
It is estimated that the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits combined have a total of 214 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. Natural gas that can power the country in addition to reducing carbon dioxide Ohio power generation emissions by 38%.
We must reject the misconception that a cleaner environment can only be achieved at the risk of America’s energy security and independence.
This means avoiding the dangerous green rhetoric at all costs that ultimately led to the predicament that Europe currently faces.
Locally and geopolitically, energy transitions must be driven by reality, not rhetoric.
U.S. Representative Troy Balderson has served in Ohio’s 12th congressional district since 2018. The Republican is seeking re-election in the district which currently includes all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties, as well as parts of Franklin counties , Marion, Richland and Muskingum.