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Hard knocks in Clinton County lead to talk of renewables

The city of Wilmington and Clinton County have faced some hard knocks following the recent pullout of major employer DHL Worldwide Express, which cost the Southwest Ohio area thousands of good jobs. But creative local officials are looking toward the future with an innovative renewable energy employer incentive program to create new jobs.

Wilmington officials this year created the country's first Green Enterprise Zone in Wilmington and Union Township. Renewable energy businesses that locate in the zone will be given tax and other incentives to locate there.

"Our goal is to have a group of companies here that would be related solely to alternative energy, and we are going after those folks," says Clinton County Administrator Dr. Mark Brooker.

Already, the Green Enterprise Zone has sparked interest. UK-based Gaia Energy is in the design phase of a pilot program that will convert biomass from local farmers into energy that will fuel coal burning power plants, says Brooker. If the pilot proves successful, the company could expand it.

"They will be buying crop residue from the local farmers initially," Brooker says. "They want to start testing this by the fall harvest."

At least two other companies are very interested in locating in the Green Enterprise Zone, including one that has property under contract, says Brooker, adding that more details should be announced on those companies near the end of the year.

Find out more about these efforts at Energize Clinton County.

Source: Mark Brooker
Writer: Feoshia Henderson


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