The state of Ohio has been known for its pragmatic outlook concerning the future, and their place within it. This truth is very apparent as Ohio is proving to be a place of significant discussion concerning our national energy resources.
Because of it’s geological history and location, the area of eastern and southeastern Ohio has some of the most abundant shale deposits east of the Mississippi River. The Utica and the Marcellus shales have proven to be among the largest producing gas basins in the United States.
While much of the shale deposits are located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Ohio still produces a respectable amount of crude oil, nearly 4.9 million barrels, and almost 83.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012. This amount places Ohio as one of the most prolific producers of fossil fuels in the Appalachian states.
When it comes to fossil fuels, Ohio really shines in the art and science of refining. With a capacity of nearly 530,00 barrels per day, Ohio is known as one of the top ten refining states in the nation — and with good reason. Refineries dot the landscape throughout the state including two in Toledo, one in Lima, and a fourth in Canton. And the crude that is processed doesn’t just come from Ohio. Sources as far away as Canada, North Dakota, or the Gulf Coast all find their way to this state.
However, it should be remembered that Ohio also has the potential to jump to the forefront of the green movement and sustainable energy. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, over 126,000 jobs connected with the clean energy industry were created in the state of Ohio in 2010, and the renewable resources in Ohio are numerous and varied. They include such things as wind power, bio-gas, and solar power to name a few.
Of course energy production, no matter what form it takes, is only part of the equation. Another part that needs to be considered is energy use or consumption. Ohio, because of it’s weather and manufacturing economy, has one of the highest consumption rates for energy in the eastern part of the United States. This rate of energy consumption shows no indication of slowing down, even with more and more people embracing the green movement.
In the end, Ohio’s place in the new energy economy will be decided by the people of Ohio, with every town, every city, every farm, and every community deciding exactly how they will interact with the world around them, what resources they will use, and how to prepare for the future. While politicians, government and industry certainly play an important role in the process, they are not the only, or even the most essential people in the process. By staying informed, and making good choices that are in the best interest of both themselves and the world around them, the people of Ohio will become an integral part of the future.
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