Unfinished Business: What the Midwest Needs to do to Lead in the Clean Energy Economy evaluates regional progress—or shortfalls—in meeting goals put forward by a bipartisan group of Midwestern governors and stakeholders in 2007 and 2009 to turn around the economic prospects of the region by becoming global leaders in the clean energy economy.
The report finds that clean energy policies are already benefiting parts of the Midwest, creating thousands of jobs and generating revenue for cash-strapped cities. But the region needs new policies to realize its potential as a hub of clean energy manufacturing and use.
Unfinished Business evaluates state and regional progress in meeting a landmark 2009 energy and jobs platform that was crafted with input from hundreds of state officials, business leaders, utility executives, agricultural interests and environmental advocates. The platform is widely considered the blueprint for effectively addressing the economic and energy challenges in the region.
The NWF report reviews progress to date across the region, identifies notable successes, and assesses grades—A through F—on regional efforts to meet six clean energy goals:
Unfinished Business also examines progress Midwestern states are making to meet critical infrastructure improvements and regional jobs initiatives, among them:
The report highlights regional case studies and best practices, and includes state-level assessments of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Unfinished Business finds that Midwestern states rank among the Top 10 job-creating states in all five categories of the clean energy economy, including: clean energy (Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan); energy efficiency (Ohio,Wisconsin); environmentally friendly production (Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa and Illinois); conservation and pollution mitigation (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan); and training for clean energy jobs (Illinois).
Studies have shown that clean energy could create as many as 1.2 million jobs in the Midwest over the next decade, with one-third of those in high-wage, highly skilled manufacturing positions and construction jobs. Those gains, the report warns, hinge on state and regional action.
The report urges Midwestern states to enact policies that foster greater energy efficiency, promote the use renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to create jobs and revitalize its region’s economy. Among the report’s recommendations:
The report urges elected officials to act quickly if the Midwest hopes to restore its manufacturing base and become a major player in the global clean energy economy. Without prompt government action on policies that would support the clean energy economy, the Midwest will lose more of its competitive advantage to China and other nations.
This report finds that the Midwest has all the ingredients to be a leader in the clean energy economy, but will need to step up its efforts to compete effectively with other parts of the country and world.
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